Exploring the causes of semen quality changes post-bariatric surgery: a focus on endocrine-disrupting chemicals

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Human reproduction (Oxford, England)




lipophilic compounds; male fertility; metabolic disease; nutritional deficiencies; obesogen; organochlorines; persistent organic pollutants; sex hormones; sperm aneuploidy; weight-loss surgeries


Rapid weight loss promoted by bariatric surgery (BS) can release accumulated lipophilic endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), making these chemicals systemically available. Men typically have a higher EDC body burden and lose more weight post-BS than women, which may put male BS patients at high risk for testicular toxicity. In this review, we analyze the impacts of BS on semen parameters with a particular focus on the potential effects of EDCs. After BS, serum EDC concentrations progressively increase; and there is evidence that semen parameters deteriorate after BS. Although elevated serum EDC concentrations are associated with inferior sperm parameters, links between semen parameters and EDCs post-BS have not been studied. Understanding these potential associations requires adequately powered studies, particularly within prospective longitudinal cohorts with long-term follow-up for sperm parameters, nutritional status, sex-hormones levels and serum EDC concentrations. Studying BS patients prospectively provides the important opportunity to evaluate dose-response effects of EDC serum concentrations on sperm quality and function. Research is also needed to identify critical chemical exposure periods post-BS to inform reproductive decisions, including consideration of sperm preservation before surgery.


Environmental and Occupational Health