Obese men have 42% higher chance of having very low sperm count than normal-weight men, more than 80% chance of having no sperm, new study states

DENVER , April 10, 2012 (press release) – A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and co-authored by a Colorado fertility doctor delivers some important news to men hoping to become dads: If you are overweight or obese, you might not be producing enough sperm.

Results show that a man who is considered obese has about 42-percent higher chance of having very low sperm and more than an 80-percent chance of having no sperm as compared to a normal weight man.

There is also emerging evidence that obese men have a decreased chance of having a child even after in-vitro fertilization (IVF), indicating that obesity not only affects the number of sperm, but the quality of sperm as well.

"This study is an advance in understanding why it's more difficult for obese men to conceive," said Dr. Alex Polotsky of University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine, one of the study's authors. "Though it's long been known that overweight women have a harder time conceiving, this is the first well-designed study that links male obesity to low sperm numbers."

The study was a meta-analysis (an evaluation of previously published research) of almost 10,000 men drawn from populations across the world, including Asia, Europe, and North America.

Findings may encourage both fertility doctors and patients to pay more attention to the weight of the male partner, and to consider measures that will lead to weight loss, Polotsky said.

"We need more studies to really prove that weight loss will result in a higher chance of pregnancy, but it makes sense that this would be the case."

Past studies have shown that mild weight loss in overweight women, even as little as 5 percent, can improve fertility and decrease the chance of pregnancy complications.

University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine specializes in the evaluation and treatment of infertility and reproductive disorders. Based in Aurora, CO, the center offers each patient a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan to provide personalized care with the most advanced technology available. www.arm.coloradowomenshealth.com

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