Eating disorders - can they really affect your fertility?

9th August 2018 in Infertility

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.

Reality TV star Chantelle Houghton recently revealed that years of extreme dieting may have left her infertile. The 27-year-old used to suffer from bulimia, and has now been told she has little chance of conceiving naturally because of low fertility.

So does extreme dieting really have such a catastrophic affect on your fertility?

A study by Kings College London, which examined over 11,000 UK mothers, revealed that women with a history of eating disorders are more than twice as likely to need fertility treatment and struggle to get pregnant within six months.

The research suggests that there are risks to fertility associated with eating disorders, which are serious illnesses that can have long-term health consequences. Not only because they physically deprive the body of the essential nutrients it needs, but because of the associated mental issues such as stress, anxiety and depression.

Researchers are now urging women to seek help early if they have symptoms of an eating disorder, before they try to conceive, and that health professionals should be aware of eating disorders when assessing fertility and providing treatment.

So if you’ve had an eating disorder in the past, or have symptoms now, if you’re planning to get pregnant then visit your GP first. They will be able to assess your fertility with a series of simple tests and make sure you have the right help and support in place to ensure both you and your baby are healthy throughout your pregnancy and afterwards.

Last updated: 13th January 2020