Association between socio-psycho-behavioral factors and male semen quality: systematic review and meta-analyses

Fertil Steril. 2011 Jan;95(1):116-23. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.06.031. Epub 2010 Aug 2.


Objective: To identify the factors associated with male semen quality from many socio-psycho-behavioral factors.

Design: Medline/PubMed, EMBASE, and CNKI were searched to identify relevant publications for systematic review and meta-analysis.

Patient(s): None.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): Thirteen socio-psycho-behavioral factors in 57 cross-sectional studies with 29,914 participants from 26 countries/regions were involved in this review. Six factors (age, body mass index [BMI], psychological stress, smoking, alcohol, and coffee consumption) were included in meta-analyses.

Result(s): Smoking can deteriorate all of the sperm parameters of both fertile and infertile men, but it is not risk factor for semen volume in Switzerland and Iran and for sperm density in the United States, Denmark, and Brazil; higher age and alcohol consumption are risk factors for lower semen volume; and psychological stress can lower sperm density and sperm progressive motility and increase abnormal sperm.

Conclusion(s): This review further suggested that higher age, smoking, alcohol consumption, and psychological stress were risk factors for semen quality. These results indicated that health programs focusing on lifestyle and psychological health would be helpful for male reproductive health. Well-designed studies are needed to further identify the role of more socio-psycho-behavioral factors in male semen quality.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / epidemiology*
  • Infertility, Male / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Semen / physiology*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*