Male obesity and fertility

Little research has been carried out on male fertility compared to the vast amount of research done on female fertility. However, some studies indicate that the degree of male obesity has a direct effect onoestrogen levels, with increased fat deposits corresponding to higher oestrogen and lower testosterone levels. These elevated oestrogen levels in men tend to suppress fertility because they prevent the synthesis of androgens (hormones required for the development and maintenance of normal male reproductive function). In addition, metabolic syndrome, a condition that can arise from obesity, is also associated with symptoms of erectile dysfunction, hence compounding the adverse effects obesity has on fertility.

Female obesity and fertility

Fertility issues arising from obesity in women include:
· Irregular menstrual cycles
· Problems with ovulation
· Increased androgen levels
· Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
· Increased risk of miscarriage
· Decreased success rates with assisted reproductive technologies (ART)

Obesity is also often associated with increased insulin production and insulin resistance. These two factors are believed to contribute to hyperandrogenism in obesity because insulin is important for the regulation of sex hormone production. This can be seen in obese women with PCOS
Obesity is linked to decreased success of fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF).