Article Text

  1. A. Hammoud1,
  2. A. Parks1,
  3. M. Gibson1,
  4. D. T. Carrell1,
  5. C. M. Peterson1,
  6. A. W. Meikle1
  1. 1Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medicine, and Pathology, University of Utah, and ARUP Institute, Salt Lake City, UT.


Objectives Obesity is increasingly recognized as a cause of reduced male fertility through multiple mechanisms. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between body mass index and sperm count.

Materials and Methods We reviewed records of male partners of couples seeking treatment at the fertility center over the last 3 years. Data collected included patients' demographics, past medical and surgical history, and risk factors for male infertility. Body mass index (BMI) (kg/m2) was calculated. Semen analysis was performed within the month, which included semen volume (mL), sperm concentration (sperm count/mL), progressive motility (% progressive motile sperm), and morphology (% normality of different morphologic features of sperm). Chi-square (with Fisher correction if needed) was used to compare frequencies. Pearson correlation was used when appropriate.

Results 257 patients were included in this analysis and had a mean age 32.5 ± 0.37 years. The BMI distribution is shown in the table. The mean sperm count was 110.8 ± 2.9 million sperms/mL. A low sperm was defined using the World Health Organization criteria for low sperm count (< 20 million sperm/mL), which was 10.7% of patients, and sperm motility was 46 ± 0.6%. The frequency of low sperm count according to the BMI category is given in Table 1. Low sperm count was more frequent in obese and overweight males than in normal weight men.

There was also a negative correlation between BMI and sperm motility (Pearson r = −.13, p = .04), but no age effect.

Conclusion Our findings suggest that obese and overweight men are more likely to have low sperm count and decreased sperm motility, which might reduce fertility.

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