Thinking About Kids? Men Need to Shed the Kilos
Reproductive experts have discovered that a father’s obesity negatively impacts sperm, resulting in smaller fetuses, poor pregnancy success and reduced placental development
University of Melbourne, Department of Zoology scientists studying the impact obesity has on pregnancy, are urging men to get ‘match fit’ before conceiving to assist with fetal development.
While the health risks surrounding obesity and pregnancy have largely been centred on overweight mothers, scientists from the University of Melbourne are putting the onus on men to shape up.
Word Health Organization figures show
75 per cent of Australian adult males
are overweight or obese,
greatly exceeding the global
average rate of 48 per cent.
The findings will be presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2012, starting from August 26-29 on the Gold Coast.
The research was conducted by Professor David Gardner, Dr Natalie Hannan and PhD student Natalie Binder.
“Australia has a weight problem; the rate of obesity among men of reproductive age has more than tripled in the last three decades,” Professor Gardner said.
“A lot of men don’t understand what contribution they’re having, but they need to be healthy before conceiving. Sperm needs to be match fit for the games of life and creating life is the biggest thing that we can do.”
The study used in vitro fertilisation (IVF) on animals to determine the effects of paternal obesity on embryo implantation into the womb and fetal development.
PhD candidate Natalie Binder generated embryos from both normal weight and obese male mice - the latter had been fed the equivalent of a western fast food diet for ten weeks.
“We found that development was delayed in
the fetuses produced from obese fathers.
The rate of embryo implantation into the womb
and fetal development decreased in these animals
by up to 15 per cent.
“Furthermore, placental weight and development
was significantly less for embryos derived from
the sperm of obese males.
“These findings indicate that paternal obesity
not only negatively affects embryo development,
but also impacts on the successful implantation into the womb.
“This then results in a small placenta
which impairs fetal growth and development
with long term consequences for the health of the offspring."
Natalie Binder, PhD candidate
Binder: “Our study provides more information about the impact of obesity in men and their ability to start a family and the need to shed kilos in preparation to conceive.”
A couple of weeks before the meeting, the final program will be published to this web page along with hyperlinks to the abstracts.
Original article: http://newsroom.melbourne.edu/news/n-888