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Obese Males Have Trouble Planting the Seeds of Life

Update Date: Aug 22, 2012 12:03 PM EDT

Many studies focus on women when discussing pregnancy and obesity; just recently researchers discovered that obese women are more likely to have autistic children. However, Melbourne based scientists have made an unprecedented connection between obese males and the quality sperm produced.

Reproductive experts from the University of Melbourne's Department of Zoology have discovered that a father's obesity negatively impacts sperm, resulting in smaller fetuses, poor pregnancy success and reduced placental development.

While just recently statistics came out concerning obesity in the U.S., our numbers cannot compared with some other parts of the world, particular Down Under. The World Health Organization notes that 75 percent of males in Australia are overweight or obese.

Professor David Gardner who conducted the study had this to say on the matter:

"Australia has a weight problem; the rate of obesity among men of reproductive age has more than tripled in the last three decades," Professor Gardner said.

"A lot of men don't understand what contribution they're having, but 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."

Scientists found that in obese male mice fetal development was delayed, and the rate of embryo implantation into the womb decreased in these animals by up to 15 per cent.

 "Furthermore, placental weight and development was significantly less for embryos derived from the sperm of obese males," added PhD candidate Natalie Binde who was also involved in the study. "These findings indicate that paternal obesity not only negatively affects embryo development, but also impacts on the successful implantation into the womb."

Scientists recommend that males shed the pounds before trying to conceive. 

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