Effect of obesity on fertility can be reversed

13 February 2015

A new study has suggested that the negative impact of being obese on a woman's fertility rates can be reversed.

The breakthrough discovery comes from a team at the University of Adelaide, who highlighted how damage from being obese is passed on from child to mother, and how this can be undone.

Led by the university's Robinson Research Institute, the study could have significant implications for the future of fertility research.

The research, published in the journal Development, found that obesity leads to a specific stress response, causing damage to the cell's energy-producing mitochondria.

Lead author Associate Professor Rebecca Robker at the Robinson Research Institute said it is well established that obesity in females leads to "very serious fertility problems", including the inability to conceive. 

She added that this can also alter the growth of babies during pregnancy as it permanently "programs the metabolism of offspring, passing the damage caused by obesity from one generation to the next".

During her studies, they found a way to prevent a key mechanism from happening, which leads to obesity-related damage.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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