Can obesity cause infertility?

Many factors impact infertility. However, with speculation growing, in this article, we are examining whether obesity can cause infertility.

Firstly, let's define obesity. Obesity refers to abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a health risk. Adults are generally considered obese if they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above.

Researchers found obese women were much less likely to conceive within one year of stopping contraception than women in a healthy weight range.

Can obesity cause infertility?

Obesity and infertility

One of the best-established connections between obesity and reproductive problems is the link between obesity and infertility. Obesity decreases the rates of successful pregnancy in natural conception cycles.

Body fat affects the menstrual cycle through various hormonal mechanisms: the more excess weight and abdominal fat, the greater the risk of fertility difficulties. A delicate hormonal balance regulates the menstrual cycle. Fatty tissue produces leptin. Therefore, overweight women have higher levels of this hormone. This can disrupt hormone balance and lead to reduced fertility. Contact Ayaansh Hospital for the Best Obesity treatment in Bangalore. We provide better patient education about obesity and fertility treatments.

Excessive abdominal fat is also linked to insulin resistance and decreased levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), a protein regulating two sex hormones: androgen and estrogen.

Like women, obesity can cause infertility in men. This is likely due to hormone problems, sexual dysfunction, and other health conditions linked to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes and sleep apnoea. In fact, according to research weighing an extra 10kg may reduce male fertility.

It's important to highlight that being underweight (BMI under 18.5) can also reduce a woman's fertility by causing hormone imbalances that affect ovulation and the chance of getting pregnant. Compared to women in the healthy weight range, underweight women are more likely to take more than a year to get pregnant. Additionally, a low BMI could reduce total sperm count and sperm concentration in men.

Obesity and hormones

Obesity leads to a decrease in testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, inhibin B and sex hormone-binding globulin. This leads to low sperm count and quality in obese men.

In obese women, there is an increase in androgen metabolism and elevated estrogen levels. Obese men show low estrogen and low testosterone levels as well.

Obesity and complicated pregnancies

Obesity leads to common pregnancy complications like pregnancy-induced high blood pressure called preeclampsia or, in severe cases, eclampsia.

Obesity and related insulin resistance are also responsible for diabetes during pregnancy or gestational diabetes.


"In women, obesity can lead to irregular periods, poorer egg quality, and decreased chances of success with fertility treatments. In men, excess weight can cause decreased testosterone levels, causing men to feel tired and lose their libido. Obesity can also cause decreased sperm production."

Even though fertility treatments may increase fertility, they are still less effective for obese couples.

Losing 5-10 percent of body weight can improve ovulation and fertility and provide other health benefits. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising at least 30 minutes at least five days per week, couples trying to conceive should stop smoking, limit alcohol to four drinks a week or less, and sleep at least seven hours per night."

Contact us! At Ayaansh Hospital, Best Obesity treatment in Bangalore, we provide better patient education about obesity and its treatments.

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