Lose The Pudge

Overweight men should think about going on a diet. That is if they expect their partners to give them children. This is according to Dr. A. Ghiyath Shayeb from the University of Aberdeen. Dr. Shayeb spoke at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology's 24th conference. Shayeb reports that men who have high body mass indexes (BMI) not only had a smaller amount of seminal fluid, they also had a significant number of abnormal sperm.

Promising Topic

Shayeb and his team looked at sperm from 5316 male infertility patients undergoing treatment along with their partners at the Aberdeen Fertility Centre. Shayeb and colleagues found that 2037 participants had BMI data in their files. This led to a theory that male obesity may contribute to male factor infertility. For a long time, researchers have known that obese females often have fertility issues. The team thought male obesity and infertility a promising research topic.

Four Groups

The male participants were split up into four groups. The groups were determined according to BMI and ranged from the underweight to the very obese. The scientists next made an attempt to rule out any factors that might prejudice the results.  Such factors included smoking, drinking alcohol, long abstinence from sex, and various societal or cultural factors. At last, the researchers were able to examine a possible association between BMI and sperm/semen quality.

Of the four groups, those in Group B were found to have optimal BMI's according to the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) or BMI's of 20-25. This group had the highest sperm counts and also had the healthiest sperm of those participants from the other three groups. Group B also had the highest volume of semen in comparison with the other groups. On the other hand, there were no significant differences among the groups in terms of sperm motility or concentration.

The researchers made the decision to forego assessing the sperm samples for DNA damage. They chose to limit the study to the basic sperm analyses such as are performed before intrauterine insemination (IUI), since all of the participants had already undergone such analyses at least once while being treated at the center. However, other studies have suggested an association between male obesity and sperm DNA damage.

Dr. Shayeb assured the conference attendees that all factors which might have skewed the results of his study were excluded so that the findings were reliable. Shayeb suggests that men who wish to have children with their partners must first work toward the achievement of an ideal body weight. In any event, attaining a healthy BMI is important for a man's (or woman's) general health and well-being. Shayeb stated that other healthful habits can also help men toward the ideal BMI and healthier sperm.


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