Men need to become match fit if they want to be fathers
Men have been warned they need to become ‘match fit’ if they want to be fathers, as a fertility study claims too much attention has been focused on mothers’ weight.While the health risks surrounding obesity and pregnancy have largely been centred on overweight mothers, the focus is now on men to lose weight.
Less efficient sperm results in smaller foetuses, poor pregnancy success and reduced placental development.
The discovery was made by reproductive experts from the University of Melbourne, Australia.
World Health Organisation figures show that a staggering 48 per cent of adult males are overweight or obese – making the findings even more of a worry.
The research was conducted by Professor David Gardner, Dr Natalie Hannan and PhD student Natalie Binder.
Prof Gardner, Head of the Department of Zoology, said: “A lot of men don’t understand they need to be healthy before conceiving. Sperm needs to be ‘match fit’ for the games of life and creating life is the biggest thing that we can do.”
The study used IVF to determine the effects of paternal obesity on embryo implantation into the womb and foetal development.
PhD candidate Natalie Binder generated embryos from both normal weight and obese male mice.
She said: “We found development was delayed in the foetuses produced from obese fathers. Furthermore, placental weight and development was significantly less for embryos derived from the sperm of obese males.
These findings indicate that paternal obesity not only negatively affects embryo development, but also impacts on the successful implantation into the womb.
“This then results in a small placenta which impairs fetal growth and development with long term consequences for the health of the offspring. Our study provides more information about the impact of obesity in men and their ability to start a family and the need to shed kilos in preparation to conceive.”
The findings were presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2012.
Tags: diets, Health Direct, IVF, maternity, obese, pregnancy, Sexual health, weight loss