CentraState Healthcare System

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Thursday, February 07, 2013 - Fertility Challenges Caused by Obesity in Women and Men

For Release: February 7, 2013

Contact:        Abbey M. Luterick, Director of PR & Communications


Fertility Challenges Caused by Obesity in Women and Men

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP —  Obesity-related infertility is one of the most common problems of overweight, reproductive-aged women trying to become pregnant.  And for men, obesity can also hinder fertility. 

Scientists and medical professionals say the rise in obesity could be partly to blame for the rise in infertility. For those who are unsuccessful at traditional weight-loss plans, such as diet modification and increased exercise, 82 new findings are proving that the three safest and most common surgical weight-loss procedures ─ gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric banding ─ have helped many couples become pregnant. As an added benefit, significant weight-loss in obese women prior to pregnancy also helped prevent serious maternal and fetal complications during pregnancy including gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders, such as pre-eclampsia.

Lisa Dobruskin, MD, board-certified surgeon explains, “The excess number of fat cells in women interferes with hormone production and excess weight puts added strain on the body’s ability to function optimally, both key components to conception.” Significant weight loss can improve menstrual irregularity and increase ovulation rate in non-ovulating, obese women, leading to increased pregnancy rates. Polycystic ovary syndrome, another common cause of infertility in overweight women, improves as well.

Forty percent of men who have fertility problems are overweight and a third are obese. Obese men are three times more likely to have a low sperm count. Dobruskin adds, “The sperm they do retain have motility problems or are misshapen, inhibiting the sperm’s ability to enter the egg. One of the main causes of infertility in obese men is the same as in obese females. Men with excess fat cells create too much estrogen-mimicking estrone, which lowers testosterone levels and actually increases the female hormone, estrogen.” Higher estrogen levels can also cause men to develop breasts and reduce sperm production.

MEDIA ALERT: To speak with Dr. Dobruskin about the connection between fertility and bariatric surgery, please call Abbey Luterick at 732.294.7082.

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About CentraState

CentraState Healthcare System is a non-profit community health organization consisting of an acute-care hospital, a health and wellness campus, three senior living communities, a charitable foundation and a Family Medicine Residency Program, sponsored by UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.