IVF and Obesity - a weighty issue

6th September 2011 in Infertility

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Does being significantly overweight affect the success of IVF? A new US study shows that obesity is linked to the outcome of IVF.

In the study of over 150,000 fertility treatment cycles, women who were overweight or obese were less likely to become pregnant through fertility treatment than normal weight women, and in the heaviest cases were twice as likely to lose a baby if they did become pregnant.

But more research is needed to pinpoint exactly why being heavier affects the success or failure of IVF and pregnancy. Those leading the study say the reason is still unclear.

Other lifestyle factors also need to be taken into account, and the different causes of infertility of the women in the study. But there’s no doubt that being the healthiest you can be before you embark on any fertility treatment is the best course of action.

Indeed, some NHS trusts in the UK already restrict IVF treatment to those who are significantly obese, because obesity increases the health risks to both the mother and the baby, as well as affecting treatment success in certain cases. So it makes sense to address any weight issues before seeking fertility treatment.

Last updated: 5th September 2011