Human Semen Quality, Sperm DNA Damage, and the Level of Reproductive Hormones in Relation to Urinary Concentrations of Parabens

J Occup Environ Med. 2017 Nov;59(11):1034-1040. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001106.


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between environmental exposure to parabens and semen quality parameters [main semen parameters, computer-aided semen analysis (CASA parameters], sperm chromatin structure, and the level of reproductive hormones in men [follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone, estradiol].

Methods: Urine samples collected from 315 men who attended the infertility clinic for diagnostic purposes with normal semen concentration of 15 to 300 mln/mL were analyzed for five parabens concentrations using a validated gas chromatography ion-tap mass spectrometry method. Participants were interviewed and also provided a semen, saliva, and blood samples.

Results: Urinary parabens concentrations were significantly associated with an increase in the percentage of sperm with abnormal morphology, in sperm with high DNA stainability and a decrease in the percentage of motility and testosterone level.

Conclusions: This is one of the first study on this topic, so the observation of the relationship between parabens and semen quality warrants further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • DNA Fragmentation*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / blood
  • Infertility, Male / urine*
  • Male
  • Parabens / metabolism*
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical / metabolism*
  • Semen Analysis*
  • Spermatozoa / pathology*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Urinalysis
  • Young Adult


  • Parabens
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone