Can your weight affect your chances of getting pregnant? Living a healthy lifestyle is often encouraged for those trying to get pregnant. Let’s be honest, it isn’t easy for everyone to exercise and eat healthy. However, studies have shown that being underweight or overweight can impact one’s ability to conceive. Men who are extremely overweight or obese had lower sperm counts than men who are a normal weight. One theory explains this effect by the fact that men with greater fat storage end up turning testosterone into estrogen causing decreased sperm production. On the flip side, men who are underweight also had lower sperm counts compared to normal weight men. Hormonal issues can come into play for underweight men.
Women who are significantly overweight or underweight can also have hormonal disorders that can effect ovulation. They may ovulate infrequently or not at all. Fat cells produce estrogen and in overweight women there can be an overproduction of estrogen that prevents adequate ovulation from occurring. Also, women who are experiencing inadequate ovulation are prone to luteal phase defect. The luteal phase is the time frame between ovulation and menstruation. Generally, a woman’s luteal phase is between 12-14 days. Women who suffer from luteal phase defect have a luteal phase that is too short to sustain a pregnancy (less than 10 days).
Another common cause of infertility is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is usually found in women who are overweight and/or have a hard time losing weight. PCOS is a hormonal disorder that causes women to produce more androgens (male hormones) than normal. This can cause irregular ovulation or no ovulation at all.
For more information about the effect of weight on fertility, consult your fertility doctor. Our staff at RMA of Michigan will take the time to conduct a comprehensive evaluation and examine a broad range of fertility treatment options, so we can develop a personalized fertility treatment plan that fits you best. Call us at (248) 619-3100 to set up an appointment with one of our fertility doctors in Michigan.