Couple who are over-weight or obese face the prospect of delayed pregnancy which is on an average half time more than what non-obese couple achieve, said a study by Dr. Rajeshwari Sundaram, a senior researcher in the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Considering body composition and fertility possibilities, she said hitherto the studies focused on female partner’s BMI than the male’s but “our findings underscore the importance of including both partners.”
The study, conducted as part of the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study on 501 couples from Michigan and Texas from 2005 to 2009, examined the link between fertility and exposure to toxic and environmental chemicals. Their age ranged from 18 to 44 years for women and over 18 for men.
A close watch on women’s monthly menstrual cycles, intercourse and pregnancy tests was undertaken until pregnancy or those who could not conceive for one year.
Based on the body mass index (BMI), the subjects were divided into obese class I with a BMI from 30 to 34.9 and the most obese or obese class II with a BMI of 35 or more who numbered 75 men and 69 women. The other group consisted of the non-obese group with 84 men and 228 women.
The study found that the class II couples or most obese people had delayed pregnancy almost 55% longer than non-obese couples. Hence, they noted that couples’ obesity may reduce fertility chances. Doctors should consider not only female partner’s BMI but both their BMI.
The findings have been published in online journal Human Reproduction.