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Sons born to overweight mothers are more likely to be diagnosed with infertility

The occurrence of Infertility may be caused due to many genetic defects. But a mother’s role in the progression of fertility in her children was unclear until now. A recent Danish study done led by Linn Arendt of Aarhus University revealed that boys born to overweight mothers or mothers in the obese weight range face higher risks of infertility. This study was published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. However, the study clarified that no results of infertility were seen in daughters. 

9,232 adults were studied by researchers from Denmark, of whom around nine percent were found to suffer from infertility. In pregnancy, the team found an association between mothers with a body mass index or ‘BMI’ of 25 or more and a higher risk of infertility in male children. The same did not seem to apply, though, to the daughters of women who were overweight.

Key points noted in this study are:

  • A mother’s pre-pregnancy weight can affect the future fertility of her sons.
  • Adult sons of overweight or obese mothers had a 1.4 times greater risk of infertility.
  • There was no correlation between a mother’s pre-pregnancy weight and the fertility of her adult daughters.

Linn Arendt, MD, Ph.D., Study Lead Author and Postdoc, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus University gave the following output, “Infertility is a global public health issue, and it is important that research focus on addressing risk factors. We know that children born to mothers in the overweight or obesity weight range face higher risks of several adverse outcomes, both in the short and long term. These findings add to evidence that weight during pregnancy may also affect male future reproductive health; however, the findings need to be corroborated in future studies.”

The study highlights how diverse and long-reaching the causes of infertility are, and can also be a particular problem for one sex. Obesity causes a number of changes in the body which can have impacts on a growing fetus. This study is important for both infertility and obesity research and treatment.

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