Does Metabolic Surgery Improve Fertility in Men and Women?

Posted on: 7th Oct, 2022


Metabolic surgery is among the most highly effective treatments in medicine today, especially as a treatment for type two diabetes, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. But what about infertility? Does metabolic surgery improve fertility in men and women?

Obesity and Infertility

Fertility specialists are very clear that being obese or even overweight can negatively affect a couple’s chances of becoming pregnant. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), obesity is the reason for infertility in six percent of women who have never been pregnant before.

The hormonal changes of sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass are profound. In terms of fertility specifically, these hormonal changes restore normal ovulation in a high percentage of women and resolve infertility for many individuals. Research has focused on women who experience a high degree of infertility associated with obesity and the related hormonal condition of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Large published systematic reviews have found improved safety and reduce risks of adverse childbirth and neonatal outcomes because of metabolic surgery, for both women and their infants.

Studies demonstrate most women with infertility and polycystic ovarian syndrome enjoy significant improvements in common PCOS symptoms after surgery, including reduction of the abnormal hair growth (hirsutism), reduction of the painful ovarian cyst formation, and most importantly, resolution of infertility that allows healthy pregnancy and childbirth.

Male Obesity & Fertility

Among the many health risks obesity poses for men specifically is related to lower or even nonexistent sperm counts. That’s because obesity can elevate body temperature, particularly around the scrotum and lead to hormonal imbalances. Both men and women also experience disruptions of sex hormones, including follicle stimulating hormone and testosterone. For men, this hormonal imbalance can affect sperm count, concentration, and motility (the sperm’s ability to move). Addressing obesity with metabolic surgery therefore makes sense for men who are interested in becoming fathers.

While there are fewer studies regarding infertility in men, male infertility improves after bariatric surgery due to the hormonal effects that improve male sperm count and restore the normal sex hormone levels.

Obesity & Pregnancy

Obesity during pregnancy means a greater risk of serious health issues. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, these risks include gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnea. There are greater risks for the developing baby too, including birth defects, diagnostic test issues, macrosomia, preterm birth, and stillbirth. That’s why experts advise women who are overweight or obese to lose weight before becoming pregnant. It’s the best way to decrease the pregnancy risks associated with obesity.

The Bottom Line

Usually covered by health insurance plans, metabolic surgery delivers a safe and effective treatment for obesity and improves fertility for couples struggling with infertility. Learn more by contacting the team at Nevada Surgical today.

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