Obesity and Infertility: How Your Weight Affects Conception
Are you overweight and having trouble with conception? In addition to certain disorders, drug and alcohol use, and environmental causes, another possible cause of infertility is obesity. Many studies have found that obesity and infertility are linked in both men and women.
One study found that women with severe obesity were 43% less likely to conceive than those of average weight or just overweight. Women can experience the following effects due to obesity:
Increased incidence of miscarriage: Obese mothers have a 67% increased incidence of miscarriage over women of normal weight. Obesity also more than doubles the risk of a stillbirth or death in utero. Even overweight mothers have more risk of miscarriage; their risk is increased by 29%.
Irregular periods: Just like being underweight, being overweight can cause irregular menstrual cycles. Irregular cycles can cause ovulation problems, and even prevent ovulation entirely.
Less success with fertility treatments: Women who are obese need higher doses of infertility drugs. They also have less success with the treatments overall.
Male fertility can be affected by obesity in the following ways:
Decreased testosterone and increased estrogen production: This affects sperm production and motility and fertility as a result
Increased testicular heat: Just like hormone level imbalance, this is also a cause of decreased sperm production and motility. Increased heat to the testicles being affected this way is the reason men are cautioned not to sit laptops directly in their laps.
Negative effect on sperm DNA: Obesity can actually have an effect on the DNA integrity of sperm. Not surprisingly, defective sperm can result in infertility problems.
If you and your spouse are both overweight, your chances of conceiving are drastically reduced. Look for medical causes of your obesity. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of infertility in women. It causes a hormone imbalance that inhibits ovulation and it can also cause obesity.
Consider working out with your spouse! If the local gym doesn’t excite you, do something simple such as a daily walk or join a ballroom dance class together. You can strengthen your relationship while dropping some pounds and making way for baby!
Are you having trouble with obesity AND infertility? Did you or your spouse drop the pounds successfully and conceive? Share your stories in the comments below!