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Does Being Overweight Affect Fertility in Men?

A variety of factors affect fertility in men — including body weight.

Men may have difficulty conceiving for a variety of reasons and finding out the cause of infertility is a must when you’re ready to start a family. Unfortunately, being overweight does appear to be among the factors that affect fertility in men.

What the Research Says

Numerous studies have linked being overweight or obese with fertility problems in men. One such review published in 2015 in Clinical Endocrinology found that obesity reduces male fertility. Another 2015 review in the Asian Journal of Andrology reports the same thing — that male obesity is indeed problematic for men trying to conceive. Harvard School of Public Health and MedlinePlus also confirm these findings.

Why Body Weight Affects Fertility

There are several reasons being overweight affects fertility in men. The 2015 review published in Clinical Endocrinology reports that obese men have lower testosterone levels, higher risks for erectile dysfunction, and lower libidos. The 2015 review in the Asian Journal of Andrology found that male obesity reduces sperm counts, impairs sex hormone levels, boosts sperm damage, and increases the risk for miscarriages.

Does Weight Loss Improve Fertility?

Men who are overweight or obese might be able to improve fertility by achieving healthier body weights. However, weight loss doesn’t guarantee a more fertile man. The 2015 review in Clinical Endocrinology reports that it’s uncertain whether weight loss in obese men will improve fertility. Some studies, however, do show promising results. A 2014 study published in Plos One found that overweight men who lost abdominal fat had improvements in sperm quality.

Other Ways to Improve Fertility in Men

Maintaining a healthy weight isn’t the only thing a man can do to improve his chance of conceiving. To maximize your sperm count and quality, Mayo Clinic suggests eating a healthy diet including plenty of fruits and veggies, exercising regularly, preventing sexually transmitted diseases, keeping stress levels low — and steering clear of cigarettes and excessive alcohol.

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