Obesity-Male Infertility Link

Oct 14, 2004 12:19 PM EDT

A recent study has found that obesity may have a negative affect on male fertility.

US researchers, who released their results at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's annual meeting, have found a link between body weight and the overall quality of a man’s sperm.

Sperm cells deteriorate

The study found that sperm begins to deteriorate when men exceed healthy weight, and suggests that those who become obese may no longer be able to conceive because their sperm quality is so poor.

Scientists at Reproductive Biology Associates, a private fertility clinic, analyzed the sperm of 500 men and found a direct correlation between their body mass index (BMI) and sperm volume and quality.

Raises miscarriage risk

According to the researchers, obesity reduces a man's sperm count below the level required to fertilize an egg. Even if fertilization does occur, the risk of miscarriage is far greater due to the inferior quality of sperm. While the effect of weight on sperm quality is most drastic in the obese, the study found that there may be risks for men who are even slightly overweight.

Scientists believe the findings may explain why male infertility is rising, pointing to escalating rates of obesity in many western countries.


1. bbc.co.uk/health