It’s not just a woman’s weight that can affect fertility

To date, research exploring the connection between weight, fertility, and fetal outcomes has largely focused on the effects of maternal weight. However, researchers are beginning to examine the role of paternal weight and its impact on men’s fertility, as well as on the development of the fetus.

For example, a recent study conducted at the University of Melbourne investigated paternal obesity and its effect on embryo implantation and fetal development. In this study, embryos were generated using sperm from either normal weight or obese male mice, and subsequently transferred to the wombs of female mice using in vitro fertilization (IVF). The weight of the placenta was found to be lower, and fetal development delayed, in the fetuses that were fathered by obese mice. The results of this study also indicate that the process of the fertilized egg implanting in the uterus may be compromised when the male partner is obese – in part because obesity may have a negative impact on the ‘efficiency’ of men’s sperm. The researchers suggest that their study “provides more information about the impact of obesity in men and their ability to start a family and the need to shed [pounds] in preparation to conceive.” So just as weight can affect a woman’s fertility, the results of this study suggest that losing weight may be an important consideration for overweight and obese men considering fatherhood. 

Read more about this study here:

Overweight men warned they need to become ‘match fit’ if they want to be fathers [The Telegraph]

See our section on health and fitness here.

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