Are semen parameters related to birth weight

Birth weight of men with unexplained subfertility is positively correlated with sperm DNA fragmentation in adulthood. In utero environment and its relation to semen parameters may be considered in subfertility.

Céline Faure, Ph.D., Charlotte Dupont, Pharm.D., Pascale Chavatte-Palmer, D.V.M., Benoit Gautier, M.Sc., Rachel Levy, M.D. for the ALIFERT Collaborative Group

Volume 103, Issue 1, Pages 6-10


Several experimental models suggest a link between maternal nutrition during gestation and reproductive function in offspring, but the impact of birth weight on male fertility in adulthood in humans is poorly documented. To study whether birth weight is associated with unexplained male subfertility later in life, we evaluated the relationship between birth weight and sperm parameters in adulthood in white subfertile men, partners of couples with primary idiopathic subfertility, and fertile men recruited within the ALIFERT (Diet and Its Relationship with Couple Infertility) study. Total sperm count, progressive motility, and sperm DNA fragmentation were analyzed in sperm, and metabolic assays were performed on blood. Birth weight was associated with sperm DNA fragmentation and inversely correlated with total sperm count, underlining the importance of the in utero environment for male reproductive function.

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  • Along the lines of the previous comments, my question when interpreting the results of this study is: Is there really an independent association between BW and semen parameters, or is the true association between visceral adiposity / elevated BMI and semen parameters? (and visceral visceral adiposity / elevated BMI happens to also be associated with elevated BW)

  • msamplaski

    Was the relationship linear? Did infants who were born more premature have worse semen and DNA fragmentation? Was there a cutoff time of prematurity for when this decline in semen function was seen?

  • Ali Dabaja

    Is it possible that the poor sperm DNA integrity is due to the positive association that was found between BW and visceral fat in adulthood and the low HDL cholesterol levels?

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