Obese couples may take longer to conceive a child, study finds

Couples consisting of two obese partners may take longer to achieve pregnancy compared to couples of average weight, according to a new study published in the journal Human Reproduction.

To investigate the possible relationship between parental obesity and child conception, researchers revisited data compiled in the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study. For that study, 501 couples from Michigan and Texas were followed up to one year or until they achieved pregnancy. The study took place from 2005 to 2009.

For the new study, researchers compared the average time to achieve pregnancy between non-obese couples and obese couples. Analysis revealed obese partners took 55 to 59 percent longer to achieve pregnancy when compared to their normal weight counterparts.

"A lot of studies on fertility and body composition have focused on the female partner, but our findings underscore the importance of including both partners," said Rajeshwari Sundaram, PhD, one of the study's authors and a senior investigator in the division of intramural population health research at NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "Our results also indicate that fertility specialists may want to consider couples' body compositions when counseling patients."

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