Will Obesity Cause Infertility?

ben bunting BA(Hons) PgCert Sport & Exercise Nutriton  Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.


The World Health Organization states that over 650 million adults around the world were obese and global obesity has tripled since 1975

In this article we look at the following areas:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low sperm count
  • Other conditions
  • Sex drive
  • Obesity
  • Diet and alcohol
  • BMI
  • Solutions
  • Conclusion

One of the most common misconceptions in our society is that being overweight or obese can still mean healthy, the term 'fat but fit' is often referred to, suggesting that you can be obese without carrying any risk.

Unfortunately, this couldn't be further from the truth!

Obesity has been linked to various chronic diseases, including male infertility as outlined by Katib, 2015.

While there are many contributing factors to fertility problems, obesity is one of them.

Obesity and Erectile Dysfunction

will obesity affect fertility

There is a strong correlation between obesity and erectile dysfunction. The more obese a man is, the more likely he is to experience difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.

This is because obesity causes insulin resistance and diabetes, which are major risk factors for ED. In addition to causing ED, obesity can also lead to infertility. 

With obesity increasing at such a high rate, it is crucial to be proactive and understand the potential risks of being overweight.

For example, if you are trying to conceive, losing weight may improve your chances of success.

Low Sperm Count

Obesity and infertility are inextricably linked. The hormones leptin and adiponectin regulate the reproductive activity, which means that obesity can directly impact their production levels.

For this reason, over-weight or obese individuals often have low levels of these hormones, which causes a reduction in sex drive, sperm counts, and poor semen quality. 

It is important to note that being overweight or obese does not mean a man will automatically have fertility problems.

However, it is something to be aware of if you are trying to conceive and struggling with infertility.

If you are concerned about your weight and its impact on your fertility, consult your doctor for advice.

In addition, there are treatments available that may help with weight loss, one such lifestyle change could incorproate more physical exercise.

Obesity and other conditions

Obesity can also cause insulin resistance and diabetes; both conditions could impact fertility as well.

Losing weight through dieting and exercise will help improve male infertility if it has been caused by obesity.

Obesity has been linked to various chronic diseases, including infertility. Men diagnosed with the following diseases or disorders may develop infertility:

  • Obesity,
  • Diabetes type II
  • Hypogonadism
  • Aromatase deficiency - a rare genetic condition in which estrogen is not made correctly by the ovaries or testicles, resulting in infertility.

With obesity increasing at such a high rate, it is vital to be proactive and understand the potential risks of being overweight.

If you are trying to conceive, losing weight may improve your chances of success. 

Sleep apnea is another condition as a result of obesity, which can also lead to infertility.

A 2021 study discovered that obstructive sleep apnea was associated with a 1.24 fold increased risk of male infertility.

Treatment for sleep apnea, such as using a CPAP machine at night, may improve fertility in men who suffer from this disorder.

In addition, sleep apnea can reduce testosterone leaves as well as a reduction in sexual activity.

Sex Drive

Sex drive is a crucial factor in male infertility. Those suffering from obesity are less likely to have sex due to the discomfort it causes them both physically and psychologically.

In addition, weight gain can cause erectile dysfunction, which then reduces libido even further.

Obesity: A World-Wide Problem

Currently, 35 percent of American men are obese. This is a scary statistic that can cause serious health problems for both them and their partner.

Male obesity and male infertility are both on the rise in developed countries.

While it is not entirely clear if there is a direct link between the two, there are many theories about how obesity may cause infertility in men.

Research shows that obesity can lead to increased estrogen levels in men, which can interfere with sperm production.

Diet and alcohol

Not eating well and taking care of yourself will cause obesity. Likewise, lack of vitamins and nutrients will cause obesity and, in turn, affect fertility. 

In addition, men should reduce their alcohol intake as this causes hormonal changes that can be problematic when trying to conceive with IVF treatment.

Studies have shown that drinking excessively during periods of heavyweight gain could lead to lower sperm concentration and quality and impaired fertility.

BMI and infertility

will obesity cause infertility

Excessive weight has not only been linked to increased risk of female infertility but also male fertility issues.

Obesity and high body mass index (BMI) are associated with a decline in testosterone level and sperm count. One study has found a correlation between increased obesity and reduced testicular volume.

For men trying to conceive, obesity can cause many problems, including low libido, erectile dysfunction, or sub-fertility, which means difficulty conceiving.

This isn't just because there's less physical activity involved.

It seems the fat cells themselves affect semen quality, too, as they produce inflammatory chemicals called cytokines that negatively impact the sperm production process at several different steps throughout this complex pathway.

Losing excess pounds and maintaining a healthy weight is not only good for your general health and wellbeing but may also improve your fertility.

So if you're struggling to conceive, it might be worth checking your BMI and seeing if there's room for improvement.


If you are trying to conceive and have been struggling with infertility, losing weight may be the answer you've been looking for.

There are treatments available that can help with weight loss, so consult with your doctor today.

➡️READ: Natural treatments for male infertility

Being proactive about your health is always the best course of action! 

Losing weight can help improve sperm count and all the other conditions such as diabetes and sleep apnea, which all affect infertility.

So losing just a few pounds could trigger fertility improvement, however, do not turn to controled substances such as anabolic steroids as these can effect your hormone levels.

Getting enough sleep is also a good way to help lose weight. So sorting any sleep apnea or insomnia issues is important for the overall goal of losing weight to help with fertility.


In conclusion, these findings suggest that obesity is a contriuting factor towards fertility problems in men.

Eating healthier foods, and being more active are some initial, and non-invasive steps that can be taken.

You could also ain benefit from a fertility supplement such as Fertiligy which includes proven nutrients that can help restore teststeorne levels, reduce inflammation and free radicals.

If you are concerned about your fertility or your partner's fertility, talk to a doctor. 

A fertility specialist may help you assess your or your partner's likelihood of being infertile and recommend ways that you can improve the chances of pregnancy.

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