New study shows high cholesterol delays pregnancy

23 May 2014

A new study has shown that pregnancy in couples trying to have children might be delayed due to high cholesterol.

Researchers examined 501 couples as they tried to conceive over a year and found couples with high cholesterol took the longest time to conceive a child.

According to Enrique F Schisterman, MS, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the study also found couples in which the woman had high cholesterol and the man did not, took longer to become pregnant than couples where both partners had cholesterol levels in the normal range.

He added, the results suggested prospective parents might want to have their cholesterol checked to ensure their levels were in an acceptable range.

The researchers from the NIH, the University of Buffalo and Emory University monitored 501 couples that formed part of the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment study.

That study, lasting a year examined the effects that environmental and lifestyle factors might have on couples' health and fertility. The latest study, involved couples from Michigan or Texas who had been trying to conceive naturally. The ages of the women ranged from 18 to 44 with the men all older than 18. The couples who became pregnant over the years numbered 347.

The researchers collected data on each participant's cholesterol levels, including HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol and triglycerides via blood samples.

The team used a mathematical formula called the fecundability odds ratio, which estimated each couple's chances of getting pregnant as also the amount of time it would take.

The team discovered that women having higher free cholesterol levels were less likely to get pregnant within the time frame of the study.

The study showed that even if the man had normal cholesterol levels, the couple's chances of getting pregnant were still less if the woman had high cholesterol.

According to Schisterman who spoke to Fox News, the researchers found a relationship between high free cholesterol levels and a longer time to pregnancy in couples.

He added, this was the first study to look at cholesterol levels in both partners at the same time, and their influence on the probability of becoming pregnant.

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