Cholesterol is critical to the production of hormones such as estrogen in women and testosterone and sperm in men, said epidemiologist Enrique Schisterman, who led the study. Too much or too little cholesterol can interfere with that process, he said.
High cholesterol levels may impair fertility in couples trying to achieve a pregnancy, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the University at Buffalo (New York), and Emory University in Atlanta.In a study of 501 couples who were trying to conceive, the time it took for the woman to become pregnant was longest if both partners had high cholesterol in their blood. When the woman alone had high cholesterol, pregnancy was also delayed.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in all cells of the body. It’s used to make a number of substances, including hormones and vitamin D. High blood cholesterol levels typically do not cause any signs or symptoms, but can increase the chances for heart disease.
Both partners should focus on living healthy lifestyles and keeping cholesterol levels down, said Schisterman, who devoted his career to fertility research after he and his wife struggled to have children. They have one child born through in vitro fertilization and another who is adopted, he said.
The study, published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, should not be interpreted to mean that couples seeking to conceive should take common medications such as Lipitor that lower cholesterol, Schisterman said.
Standard cholesterol testing by physicians typically evaluates cholesterol scores in terms of the balance of HDL and LDL cholesterol, with a low ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol signifying an increased risk for heart disease. Although the researchers did not evaluate the ratio of these two cholesterol subtypes, Dr. Schisterman said that high free cholesterol levels are likely to indicate an unfavorable HDL to LDL ratio.
“From our data, it would appear that high cholesterol levels not only increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, but also reduce couples’ chances of pregnancy,” Dr. Schisterman said.
Couples in which each partner had a high cholesterol level took the longest time to reach pregnancy. Moreover, couples in which the woman had a high cholesterol level and the man did not also took longer to achieve pregnancy when compared to couples in which both partners had cholesterol levels in the acceptable range.
In addition to the link between cholesterol and fertility, Schisterman noted that the male’s role in conception difficulties is noteworthy. Hence at Welling Clinic, we take a comprehensive & a holistic view of the couple facing difficulty on conceiving. Many times, just slight lifestyle changes can lead to successful pregnancy. The Fertility Treatment Protocol from Welling Clinic, involves customised Homeopathic medicines, lifestyle changes and dietary changes if required.