Texas Fertility Center

Obesity and Male Infertility

Learn more about obesity and male infertility

Research shows a link between obesity and male infertility. Many patients are surprised to learn that men are not immune to the effect of weight on fertility. While extra body weight can cause fertility struggles and other health issues, our Austin fertility doctors offer treatments and suggestions to help.

Exploring the link between obesity and male infertility

Obesity rates are rising, and many people know that being overweight can negatively affect a person’s overall health. Being overweight or obese as a man can also make it more difficult for a couple to conceive. In fact, men who weigh just 20 pounds more than their ideal weight are 10% more likely to have male infertility.

The link between obesity and male infertility is clear, but why is that the case? Our Austin fertility doctors explain some of the reasons below.

  • The higher a man’s body mass index (BMI), the more likely he is to have a low sperm count. He is also more likely to have decreased sperm quality and movement. These factors can make it more difficult to conceive, while low sperm quality can also lead to miscarriage.
  • Being overweight or obese can lead to hormonal imbalances. If a man’s body has excess body weight, the male hormone testosterone turns into the female hormone estrogen. When a man has higher than normal estrogen levels, his testicles are less likely to produce sperm.
  • Another problem in obese men is that the scrotum often remains in close contact with the body. Being closer to the surrounding body tissues raises the temperature of the scrotum, which keeps the sperm at a higher temperature. This higher temperature can damage the sperm.

Taking steps to reach a healthy body weight

Due to the link between obesity and male infertility, our Austin fertility doctors often recommend weight loss to improve fertility. When patients lose weight by eating a healthy diet and exercising, they improve their odds of conceiving. In fact, many couples can conceive quite quickly after the man lowers his BMI from an unhealthy level. This is also true for the female partner.

If a couple is still having trouble conceiving after losing weight, our Austin fertility doctors will use diagnostic testing to create an individualized fertility treatment plan. Treatment may include intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), depending on a couple’s situation.

If you have questions about how you can improve your fertility, contact us. Our experienced team can help you achieve your family-building goals.

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Chizhong Wang*, Ji-won Choi*, Leonardo F. Urbanoy, Puneet MassonzMatthew VerMilyea§, and Moshe Kam*Tracking of Human Sperm in Time-Lapse Images*Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ, USA, 70 Beharrel St., Concord, MA, USA, Penn Fertility Care, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA, §Ovation Fertility, Austin, TX, USA.