Can Excess Weight Cause Infertility?

Link Between Obesity & Infertility

There has been an increase in the number of people who are overweight making obesity an epidemic. Obesity has negative effects on all systems including the reproductive system. You are considered to be overweight if you have a BMI of between 25 to 29 and obese if your BMI is above 30. Being overweight affects the fertility of both women and men thereby affecting their ability to have children.

Hoe Excess Weight Can Cause Infertility?

How excess weight causes infertility in women

The menstrual cycle of a woman is regulated by a fine hormonal balance. Women who are overweight or obese have high levels of the hormone leptin. This hormone is produced in the fatty tissue and has the ability to interfere with the hormonal balance hence affecting the menstrual cycle. A woman with a hormonal imbalance issue will have a problem getting pregnant.

Obesity is also closely linked to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which occurs as a result of hormonal imbalance which creates a problem in the ovaries. It can lead to missed or irregular periods or the development of cysts in the ovaries. All of which cause infertility.

Excess abdominal fat also leads to insulin resistance which leads to reduced levels of the sex hormone-binding globulin which regulates androgen and estrogen.

Any interference with the hormonal imbalance also increases the risk of no ovary being produced which means the lady cannot get pregnant.

Excess weight also affects how fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF), ovulation induction, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) work.

How excess weight causes infertility in men

Excess weight in men is linked to changes in their testosterone levels and other hormones which are important for reproduction.  Low testosterone levels lead to erectile problems and sexual dysfunction.

Obesity can also lead to raised temperatures around the scrotum which can kill the sperms making the man infertile.

Excess weight can also lead to hormonal imbalance when the body has high levels of estrogen and low levels of sperm-producing hormones.  This means that the man will have a low sperm count or sperms that cannot swim well.  The physical and molecular structure of the sperm cells is also interfered with.


Medical weight loss interventions, especially those that are combined with diet and exercise have been shown to have a positive impact on fertility. You may want to talk to your bariatric specialist in Phoenix about weight loss surgery which can help address any fertility issues that are linked to excess weight. Contact the Weight Loss Institute of Arizona to learn more about medical weight loss in AZ!