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How Obesity Can Affect Sperm Quality

How obesity affects fertility
Male fertility issues can be caused by various factors such as genetics, lifestyle choices, and health conditions, including obesity. In order to achieve a successful fertilization, sperm must be considered good quality, which refers to its shape, size, and motility. Excess weight can affect the formation of the sperm in addition to causing other related health conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

“Healthy” sperm are produced over a three-month period based on the absence of toxins and DNA damage. Obesity can have a negative effect on the DNA of sperm, leading to infertility in males.

The Relationship Between Weight and Sperm Quality

Male fertility services focus on sperm health, sperm motility, and sperm function with the ultimate goal of a successful fertilization. It has been shown that for even 20 pounds over average weight that a male is, it can increase his risk of experiencing fertility issues by 10%.

Testosterone is a hormone that is essential for sperm production. Without proper levels of testosterone, a male can experience erectile dysfunction, a low sex drive, and sperm production impairment. This production can be negatively affected by an increase of leptin production which is present with high levels of fat cells.

A high body mass index can also lead to a low sperm count while a male’s testosterone will transfer into estrogen, reducing sperm production. Obesity also raises the scrotum temperature which negatively affects the health of the sperm. These hormonal imbalances and oxidative stress on the sperm puts the male at higher risk for infertility.

The Impact of Weight Loss on Sperm Quality

Morbid obesity and sperm count were at the centre of one study published in Reproductive Health based on weight loss and the link to sperm quality and hormones. Participants were found to have improved the health and quantity of sperm with weight loss. The results also proved testosterone deficiency and other hormone imbalance were improved with a decrease in the BMI.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine released a study on the link between a male diet and male fertility. While more extensive studies are recommended, this one focused on the diet requirements for healthy sperm. It found consumption of whole grains, fish, nuts, fruits, and vegetables along with the use of necessary antioxidant supplements may reduce a high BMI.

Tips for Promoting Healthy Sperm

It is possible to improve sperm morphology with a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle. Below are some other tips that may offer help improve male fertility.

The first step is to take measures to lower a high BMI to support healthy sperm. Cutting down on processed carbohydrates, sugary foods, and animal fats while increasing consumption of antioxidant enriched foods can help.

Enjoy an abundance of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, lean meats, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Supplements may be recommended by a fertility specialist to assist in improving the quality and quantity of healthy sperm.

In addition, increasing regular exercise by participating in at least three 30-minute activities each week can encourage sperm count production. For males experiencing severe obesity, it is recommended to perform at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical exercise once a day.

A little-known fact that can play a role in the cross-section of male fertility and obesity is the amount of stress one may be facing. Work and life stresses can affect sperm morphology and the levels of hormones needed to support healthy sperm production. Fertility counselling can help deal with obvious and hidden stressors that may be responsible for sperm fertility issues.

Male Fertility Counselling at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

If you are overweight and having trouble conceiving, contact the specialists at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo. We offer individualized fertility plans to address all concerns with male infertility, including programs to combat obesity.

Call our fertility clinic in Kitchener Waterloo at (519) 650-0011 to schedule a consultation appointment.


4271 King St East, Suite 200
Kitchener, ON
N2P 2X7

Working Hours

Monday-Friday: 7am-3pm
Saturday-Sunday: 8am-12pm

Contact Us

Phone: 519.650.0011
Fax: 519.650.0033