Obesity and Infertility: The Impact of Obesity on Infertility in Both Men and Women

Infertility is a medical disorder in which a woman’s capacity to bear children is impaired or non-existent. It does not imply the presence of a condition as severe or permanent as sterility. Even though infertility is a widespread problem, determining the cause can be challenging. Men and women both are at the risk of infertility, which may very well be genetic, environmental, or lifestyle-related.

Obesity is one of the most prevalent and well-documented causes of infertility in both men and women.

How Is Obesity Defined?

According to WHO, “Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is considered obese”.

In simpler terms, obesity is analyzed when your BMI is 30 or over. To determine the BMI, divide your body weight in kilogrammes by your height in metres squared.

Obesity is like a pandemic that is affecting millions of people all around the world. Obesity not only has a negative impact on overall health, but it also raises the risk of infertility in both men and women.

Body Mass Index (BMI)Weight Status
Below 18.5Underweight

Obesity and Infertility

Obesity and infertility is one of the most well-established links between obesity and reproductive issues. In natural conception cycles, obesity lowers the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Obesity may affect pregnancy rates in women who are receiving reproductive procedures that include speeding and enhancing their ovulation cycles for higher odds of conception. Low levels of adiponectin and high levels of leptin may also diminish conception rates. If you lose weight, you might be able to regain partial fertility.

Excess body fat also affects the generation of the Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH), which is required for natural ovulation in women and sperm production in men. GnRH is responsible for the production of the hormones, i.e., Luteinizing Hormone and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone, which are both vital for the development of eggs and sperm.

Here we’ll see in detail how obesity affects infertility in men and women.

Obesity and Infertility in Women

According to several studies, women who are overweight or obese have more difficulty getting pregnant than women who are of ideal weight. Furthermore, obese women have a greater likelihood of pregnancy loss after getting pregnant.

Obesity can also cause hormonal imbalances that impact men and women’s reproductive processes. Obesity-related hormone signals that are abnormal have an adverse influence on ovulation and sperm production. It can cause insulin overproduction in women, which can lead to irregular ovulation. Obesity, high insulin levels, and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are all linked to infertility. Anovulation (decreased or interrupted ovulation), obesity, and high levels of male hormones are all symptoms of PCOS.

Related: How Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Affects Fertility in Women- What You Can Do About It

Obesity and Infertility in Men

Male obesity has also been linked to a reduction in sperm count, substantial hormonal abnormalities, an increase in the temperature around the scrotum, and a reduction in overall sex drive. Obese males generate sperm with fragmented DNA, lowering fertility and raising the chance of abortion.

Obese people put in fewer physical efforts, which is why an overweight person’s testosterone production drops. Because fat tissue transforms male hormones like testosterone into the feminine hormone oestrogen, obese men have higher oestrogen levels than usual. Because oestrogen prevents the production of testosterone, which is essential for the development and maintenance of normal male reproductive function, increased oestrogen levels in men tend to reduce fertility.

Related: Sperm Count Test- Semen Analysis for Infertility

The Impact of Obesity in IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)

When a couple is unable to conceive due to infertility, whether due to obesity or hormonal abnormalities, they frequently seek treatment through In Vitro Fertilization (Artificial Insemination). Obese women with a BMI of more than 35 had lower success rates than overweight (BMI of 25-30) or normal-weight women, according to a new study.

Obese women also had a reduced success rate with embryo implantation. After In Vitro Fertilization, they were also less likely to become pregnant. Doctors also generally advise their patients to lose weight before attempting In Vitro Fertilization.

In Conclusion,

Obesity is a serious health concern that has been linked to infertility and a number of other co-morbid disorders. Weight loss has been shown in studies to be particularly beneficial in the care of such individuals, as it can improve fertility and lead to healthy full-term pregnancies.


If you are struggling to conceive, you should contact Dr Banker as soon as possible. He can guide you through your journey from infertility to fertility in the best possible way.


Also Read: Infertility Causes- Causes of Male Infertility & Causes of Female Infertility

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