Obesity and Fertility: Why Losing that Beer Gut Could Save your Sperm Count

Man on weight scale that says diet.

Talking about fertility can be tough. Talking about losing weight isn’t too much fun either.  So this one is a double whammy. But if you’re trying to be a dad, being the (literal) elephant in the room could be significantly hurting your chances of getting pregnant.

We know we’re not the first to tell you that being overweight is bad for you.  Losing weight is hard.  Keeping the weight off is harder.  We get it.  Believe us, we get it.

However…

You need to know how much that excess weight could be impacting your fertility, and why now might be the time to take the “you need to lose weight” message to heart.

CAN MY OBESITY REALLY LEAD TO A LOWER SPERM COUNT?

Yes, the link between obesity and lower sperm production is well established. Here’s some data for you:

  • In a 2014 Stanford University study of 501 couples trying to conceive, obese men were 20 times more likely to have a low sperm count than men with a healthy body mass index (BMI).  That study also found that men’s total sperm count decreased as their waist circumference (gut) increased.
  • A 2013 French “mega-study” of 13,077 men showed those who were overweight or obese were significantly likely to have a low sperm count or no sperm count.
  • A 2012 study out of Harvard University showed that obese men were 42% more likely to have a low sperm count than normal-weight guys, and 81% more likely to produce no sperm.

WHAT EXACTLY DOES CARRYING A FEW EXTRA POUNDS HAVE TO DO WITH MY SPERM COUNT?  

We’ll save you from all the physiology and just say that you can think of your excess fat as an estrogen factory.  Your testicles need a healthy level of natural testosterone to do their job – your extra fat is diminishing your body’s testosterone level and ability to produce sperm.

SO IF I TRY TO GET IN SHAPE, WHAT IS MY TARGET “IDEAL” WEIGHT?

The research on weight and sperm production is usually categorized by men’s BMI:

  • Underweight: < 18.5
  • Healthy: 18.5 – 24.9
  • Overweight: 25.0 – 29.9
  • Obese: > 30.0

You can use this calculator to find out where you stand now, and how much you should try to lose to reach the “Healthy” (18.5 – 25.0) range:

 

Losing weight sucks, but so does infertility.  If you’ve got some pounds to lose maybe now’s the time to kick the poor habits and get off the couch. The Trak Approach is all about helping you see improvements in your sperm production as you take charge of your health and lifestyle, and getting in shape is right up near the top of the list.  To get started, download the free Trak App or check out our new Trak Coaching service to work with an expert who can work with you one on one to achieve your goals.

Dropping the excess weight can be challenging, but it comes with a big bonus: not only is it going to benefit your reproductive health, it will also help you feel better, more energetic, and healthier – things you are going to need when you become a dad.