A new study from researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva, Israel has shown that prolonged stress can impact the quality of sperm.
Periods of prolonged stress can include anxiety experienced during military conflict, EurekAlert reports.
More than a third (37 percent) of sperm samples obtained during a stressful time were determined to have low sperm motility.
Weak motility in sperm means that they are less likely to fertilise an egg.
"Mental stress is known to have an adverse effect on fertility, but there is little research on the impact of stress on sperm quality," Dr. Eliahu Levitas explained.
"This study shows that prolonged stress can have an effect on sperm quality."
The team examined 10,536 samples donated from 2009 to 2017 (an non-stressful period of time) in their research.
These were then compared to 659 samples taken during and up to two months after two military conflicts in 2012 and 2014 between Israel and Gaza.
Overall, the researchers found that the probability of weak motility in sperm samples was 47 percent higher when taken during times of prolonged stress.
Dr. Levitas said the team was 'surprised' to find a link between times of conflict and sperm quality.
The results were presented at the International Summit on Assisted Reproduction and Genetics in Israel.