Obesity in women (a Body Mass Index, (BMI) of 30 or greater, see link at the end of this article to calculate your BMI) can negatively affect ovulation and menstrual cycles and the ability to conceive. Extremely obese women (BMI of 40+), were 43% less likely to conceive. But, it has been shown that weight reduction often results in normalization of the menstrual cycle and higher pregnancy rates.
In fact, obesity causes an almost 200% increase in the risk of miscarriage and weight reduction significantly reduces this risk as well.
Recent research from France reviewed the data from 14 studies comparing the sperm count of normal, overweight and obese men and revealed that excess weight might also affect men’s fertility.
It was found that overweight men were 11% more likely to have low sperm counts, but 39% more likely to have no sperm in their ejaculate than normal weight men.
On the other hand, obese men were 42% more likely to have low sperm counts and 81% more likely to have no sperm count. It should be understood that the risk of no sperm count is very low to begin with, so though the risk increased by 81%, in absolute terms, the risk is still small.
For couples where both the woman and man are overweight or obese, this combination could result in difficulty achieving pregnancy and even moderate weight loss could help.
Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.