Indian scientists studied more than 1,200 men and found that too much extra weight was linked to a lower volume of semen, a lower sperm count and lower sperm concentration.
In addition, sperm motility (the ability to move quickly through the female reproductive tract) was poor. The sperm had other defects as well, the researchers added. Poor sperm quality can lower fertility and the chances of conception.
“It’s known that obese women take longer to conceive,” said lead researcher Dr. Gottumukkala Achyuta Rama Raju, from the Center for Assisted Reproduction at the Krishna IVF Clinic, in Visakhapatnam. “This study proves that obese men are also a cause for delay in conception,” he added.
“Parental obesity at conception has deleterious effects on embryo health, implantation, pregnancy and birth rates,” Rama Raju explained.
How obesity affects sperm quality isn’t known, he pointed out.
But in continuing research, the study team is looking to see if losing weight will improve the quality of sperm.
Although that study is still in progress, early signs look good that sperm quality improves as men lose weight, Rama Raju said.
One U.S. fertility expert said the findings have broad implications in America.