Male obesity and alteration in sperm parameters

Fertil Steril. 2008 Dec;90(6):2222-5. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.10.011. Epub 2008 Feb 21.


Objective: To study the effect of male obesity on sperm parameters and erectile dysfunction.

Design: Retrospective analysis.

Setting: Referral fertility center.

Patient(s): Couples presenting for infertility treatment.

Intervention(s): On presentation, all men reported their weight and height and filled out an intake form that includes questions regarding factors that affect male infertility, including presence of erectile dysfunction. Body mass index (BMI) was divided into three groups: normal (BMI <25 kg/m(2)), overweight (25 kg/m(2) <or= BMI < 30 kg/m(2)), and obese (BMI >or=30 kg/m(2)). Sperm parameters reviewed included sperm concentration and progressively motile sperm count.

Main outcome measure(s): Oligozoospermia, low progressively motile sperm count, and self-reported erectile dysfunction.

Result(s): The mean age of the study population was 32.8 +/- 0.3 years. Among the 526 patients, 10.2% (54 of 526) were excluded because of the presence of a male factor known to affect fertility. The incidence of oligozoospermia increased with increasing BMI: normal weight = 5.32%, overweight = 9.52%, and obese = 15.62%. The prevalence of a low progressively motile sperm count was also greater with increasing BMI: normal weight = 4.52%, overweight = 8.93%, and obese = 13.28%. The incidence of erectile dysfunction did not vary across BMI categories when corrected for potential contributing factors.

Conclusion(s): Male obesity is associated with increased incidence of low sperm concentration and low progressively motile sperm count.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / pathology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oligospermia / epidemiology
  • Oligospermia / etiology*
  • Oligospermia / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility
  • Spermatozoa / pathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires