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Obese men who are having a hard time producing a baby may need to lose some weight, says a new study published in the August 2011 issue of the journal entitled Reproductive Health.

Male infertility roughly happens in one-third of couples who fail to produce offspring. There a many causes of male infertility and it can happen even in males who had normal pubertal development. Many scientists believe that male fertility may be a genetic problem. However, only recently was male infertility linked to obesity. According to a study published by Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology & Metabolism, more than 30 percent of males in the United States population are obese and their statistics continue to rise. In fact, several studies reveal that there is a direct relationship between a rising BMI value and the decline in the blood testosterone level resulting in the poor quality of sperm production, decreased sperm production, and slower sperm motility in obese male patients.

Obesity is one of the major causes of secondary hypogonadism, a type of male infertility problem, according to the said study published by Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology & Metabolism. Obese men have greater adipose tissue deposits that increase estradiol activity, which ultimately results in decreased hormonal secretion by the pituitary gland.

In the study published by Reproductive Health, the researchers aimed to demonstrate the effect of losing weight to the quality of semen produced by previously obese men. They recruited 43 obese males with a BMI value of more than 33 kilograms per m2 to participate in a weight loss program for a period of 14 weeks. Their semen and blood samples were examined periodically. Their levels of testosterone, sex-binding globulins and estradiol and other fertility-related hormones were measured accordingly. The researchers confirmed that obesity is indeed associated with poor semen quality and decreased male fertility and that weight reduction can potentially improve a male patient’s semen quality and sperm motility. However, a larger study population is needed to further establish these facts.


Reproductive Health; Does weight loss improve semen quality and reproductive hormones? Results from a cohort of severely obese men; Hakonsen, L.B. et al.; August 2011

Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology & Metabolism; Treatment of Male Infertility Secondary to Morbid Obesity; Roth, M.Y. et al.; 2008

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