How Does Obesity Affects Fertility

Obesity Affect Fertility

Obesity Affect Fertility Obesity is defined as a situation where the body mass index exceeds thirty. The implication of this is excess fat is building up in your body, making your weight go up beyond the notion the overweight. Obesity can be caused by several factors but most commonly it is due to lack of exercise or too much fast food and it negatively affects your health.

The most common diseases associated with obesity are diabetes, coronary heart disease, sleep apnoea. Additionally, obesity also affects the fertility in both men and women by affecting the hormonal levels and ovulation in men and women respectively. Some of the ways by which obesity can negatively affect fertility are discussed here:

Five Obesity Affects Fertility

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is a very common disease among women, detected usually by ultrasound. It refers to the irregularities of menstrual cycle. PCOS is influenced by obesity to a great extent.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome


Obesity causes the deposition of excess fat in the abdominal area which negatively affects the hormones responsible for fertility. Obesity causes the excess levels of androgen which leads to PCOS which in turn is the cause of menstrual irregularities and that may finally lead to problems in conception.


This is a protein that is manufactured by the adipocytes and it plays a significant role in controlling the food intake, energy usage and also regulates the reproductive function. However, excess amount of leptin is not good for you either.

With obesity, the fat content in your body sores up increasing the amount of leptin released by adipocytes by a large amount. This excess amount of leptin in your body negatively affects the reproductive function and thus has been found to impair fertility.


Obesity negatively affects fertility in women by directly disrupting the ovulation. A disturbed ovulation pattern will show symptoms like irregular menstrual cycles, excessive bleeding, cessation of periods and all these lead to reproductive problems in women or most commonly, infertility.


Obesity causes excess deposition of fat in the ovaries and this leads to inflammation and stress of the ovary which hampers proper ovulation. Moreover, due to obesity, the number of eggs released from the ovary is less because it has less secondary follicles and few follicles of the right size. This again hampers ovulation which in turn leads to fertility problems.

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Hormonal Levels

Obesity can negatively affect the fertility in women by disrupting the levels of hormones responsible for reproduction. The Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) is essential for fertility because it triggers the release of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), both of which are required for normal and regular ovulation in women. Obesity causes a reduction in the release of the GnRH which thus limits the release of LH and FSH leading to infertility problems.


In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is the process of assisted reproduction if you are not being able to conceive naturally. In this case, willing women are provided reproductive assistance through donated eggs.

Vitro Fertilization


However, it has been observed by a research conducted by the Valencia Infertility Institute, in Valencia that for obese women, the success rate of assisted reproduction was very low as compared to lean women. It was observed that obesity in women reduced the response of their ovaries to eggs leading to a fall in receptivity. Thus it led to problems of infertility, even through IVF.