A new study has urged men to get “match fit” before conceiving to assist foetal development.
Researchers from the University Of Melbourne’s Department of Zoology have found that a father’s obesity has a negative impact upon sperm, resulting in poor pregnancy success, smaller foetuses and reduced placental development, reports Science Daily.
While studies into obesity and pregnancy have predominately centered on overweight mums, reproductive experts have now turned the spotlight on men’s health.
“A lot of men don’t understand what contribution they’re having, but they need to be healthy before conceiving,” said Professor Gardner, one of the scientists conducting the study.
“Sperm needs to be match fit for the games of life and creating life is the biggest thing that we can do,” he added.
Researchers studied embryos from both normal weight and obese male mice, which had been fed the equivalent of a western fast food diet for 10 weeks.
“We found that development was delayed in the foetuses produced from obese fathers. The rate of embryo implantation into the womb and foetal development decreased in these animals by up to 15 per cent,” said Natalie Binder, PHD candidate who worked on the study.
“Furthermore, placental weight and development was significantly less for embryos derived from the sperm of obese males,” she said.
Natalie said the hope was that the study would provide 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.”