Lidia Caporossi 1, *, Paola Viganò 2, Silvia Capanna 1, Alessandra Alteri 3, Viviana Bonzi 3, Sabrina Minetto 3, Mariangela De Rosa 1, Enrico Papaleo 3, Bruno Papaleo 1


1Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Epidemiology and Hygiene, INAIL- Monte Porzio Catone (RM) Italy - 2Infertility Center, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy - 

3IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Obstetrics and Gynecology Unit, Milan Italy


Introduction: The reproductive problems involve the male component of the couple in 25-30% of cases. 

Materials and methods: A case/control investigation was conducted to assess how potential occupational risks could have an effect on this condition. Cases were recruited in an assisted reproduction technology center for male infertility and they were asked to complete a questionnaire and provide a semen sample; controls were fertile men with at least one child conceived spontaneously, with a time to pregnancy <12 months. In total, n= 272 cases and n= 286 controls were recruited. The semen samples were analyzed: volume, concentration and motility were assessed according to the World Health Organization criteria. 

Results: In the case group, motility was the most altered parameter (86.8% of subjects) followed by concentration (47.7%) and volume (20.2%). The stratification by work activities, conducted considering the possible risk factors (heat in genital area for work like drivers, working at computer for more than 20 hours/week, possible chemical exposure, night shift, hospital workers, armed forces, others), did not evidence higher risk indices in the two groups, even taken into consideration working seniority and age. 

Conclusion: The study did not highlight any potential risks for reproductive health due to work activities of the subjects, also in consideration of the possible biases related to self-reported data. Although specific occupational exposures are documented risky for the quality of seminal fluid, the preventive measures introduced by the legislation in order to protect workers in the last few decades may have had a role in the results obtained.


Semen, male fertility, occupational exposure, self-reported exposures.