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Obese couples take longer to conceive, according to study

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untitled-design-1It is more difficult for couples where both the woman and the man are obese to conceive a child compared to couples who are both at a healthy weight, according to a new study published in the journal Human Reproduction.

According to the National Institute of Health of USA, obese couples struggle more with infertility than couples where only one person is obese.

“Obese couples were found to have approximately half the fecundability as couples with normal body mass index (BMI)” researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development wrote.

Fecundability is a calculation of how likely a couple is to conceive each menstrual cycle while they are trying for pregnancy.

Until now, studies on fertility and body composition had focused on the female partner, but this study underscores the importance of both partners’ BMI.

More than a third of Americans are obese. In the NIH study 501 couples were followed daily for up to a year as they tried to conceive. 27 percent of women and 41 percent of men were found to be obese.

When the woman was overweight or obese, the couple typically took longer to conceive. When both the woman and the man were obese (BMI 35 and over), it took the couples 55 percent longer to get pregnant compared with normal-weight couples.

Researchers did not look for a biological explanation of why, but obesity can cause a wide variety of health issues including higher levels of inflammation.  Fat cells also produce hormones, which may interfere with the hormones involved in conception.

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