Study: High Cholesterol Levels Can Make It Harder to Get Pregnant
If your TTC efforts aren’t working, a new study says it could be due to high cholesterol.
Could your conception difficulties be the result of high cholesterol?
According to a new report published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, couples with high cholesterol levels may have more difficulty conceiving than those with normal levels of the substance in their blood.
In the study, a research team from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) tracked approximately 500 couples who were trying to conceive, but not being treated for infertility. The couples were part of the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment study, established to examine the relationship between fertility and exposure to environmental chemicals and lifestyle. Women taking part in the study ranged from 18 to 44 years of age; all men were over the age of 18. The couples were followed until pregnancy or for up to one year of TTC.
After testing blood cholesterol levels multiple times, researchers found that couples in which each partner had high cholesterol levels took the longest time to reach pregnancy over the course of a year. Perhaps even more telling, couples in which the woman had a high cholesterol level, but the man had normal levels, also took longer to achieve pregnancy.
“We’ve long known that high cholesterol levels increase the risk for heart disease,” said the study’s first author, Enrique Schisterman, Ph.D., NICD Chief of Epidemiology Branch, and study author. “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,” he notes.
What does this mean for you? While part of gearing up for getting pregnant usually has couples giving their preconception diets a healthy makeover, it may be a good idea to check your cholesterol levels as part of a general physical check up. If your cholesterol is high, your doctor may recommend diet and lifestyle adjustments to help bring it down within normal range.
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