Being too fat ‘can damage sperm’
By Caroline Parkinson
Health reporter, BBC News, Barcelona
The world’s obese population is rising
Obese men have poorer quality sperm, perhaps because too much fat around their testicles causes them to heat up, scientists have suggested.
University of Aberdeen researchers looked at the sperm of over 2,000 men in couples having problems conceiving.
The heaviest men had a higher proportion of abnormal sperm, as well as other problems.
The scientists told a European fertility conference losing weight probably boosted fertility.
We are pleased to be able to add improved semen quality to the long list of benefits that we know are the result of an optimal body weight
Dr Ghiyath Shayeb
University of Aberdeen
Being obese is already known to affect women’s chances of getting pregnant.
The men were divided into four groups, according to their BMI (body mass index).
Other factors which could affect fertility, such as smoking, high alcohol use and age, were taken into account by the researchers.
Men who had a healthy BMI of 20 to 25 were had higher levels of normal sperm than those who were heavier.
They also had higher semen volume, the European Society forand Embryology meeting in Barcelona was told.
But those with a higher BMI had lower volumes of seminal fluid, and a higher proportion of abnormal sperm.
There was no significant difference between the four groups in sperm concentration or activity.
Other studies have also linked obesity to DNA damage in the sperm.
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