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A recent study found a link between infertility in couples and the amount of free cholesterol in their bodies. 501 couples in Michigan and Texas who were trying to have a baby and had not been treated for infertility participated. At the end of the year, 347 of those couples were pregnant. After measuring the fat levels of each partner, a link was discovered in the amount of cholesterol in the couples and the length of time it took them to become pregnant.
The results held up even when the doctors compared sex, education, BMI, and race, Fox News reports. The link is compelling and it appears that free cholesterol indeed plays a role in the fertility of males and females. Free cholesterol is not associated with the typical HDL and LDL your doctor typically tests for, but instead, is linked to the amount of testosterone and estrogen in the body. For men, this cholesterol will determine the strength and quality of the sperm in the body. For women free cholesterol plays a key role in ovulation, implantation, and maintenance throughout the course of the pregnancy.
The study also found that couples where the woman had high free cholesterol levels and the male did not also took longer to have children than couples with normal cholesterol levels. This could mean that women, more so than men, are key in the regulation of cholesterol levels when dealing with infertility. Of course other couples with high levels experienced the same problems. That being said, other issues like drugs, alcohol use, and stress can still be big factors in infertility. The link between free cholesterol is new, as in the past doctors did not typically test for the levels when discussing fertility in couples.
This finding may hold the key for otherwise healthy couples who have trouble conceiving. Free cholesterol, like most cholesterols, is caused by your diet and the amount of fat you store in your body. One downside of the study is that doctors did not inquire on the dietary habits of their patients. Future studies will undoubtedly continue the research with that element added.