Obesity and IVF - A weighty issue

6th August 2010 in News

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One of the topics discussed at the recent fertility conference in Rome was whether being overweight affects the outcome of IVF treatment.

According to a UK study, carried out in London, being overweight or obese can significantly increase your risk of miscarriage.

The study looked at 300 women, who had all had embryos implanted via IVF at the same clinic. In the women who had a BMI of over 25 – classed as overweight – 35% had a miscarriage, compared to 21% of women whose BMI was under 25.

The fact is that whether you conceive through IVF or naturally, being overweight does seem to affect your miscarriage risk. But weight is not the only factor that can affect the success or failure of being able to conceive.

Your age, general health and factors such as smoking and drinking can all affect whether a pregnancy is achieved.

Scientists do not currently know why carrying extra weight increases the risk of miscarriage. One theory is that it affects the lining of the womb, and therefore the ability of the egg to implant.

The general advice now is that if you’re planning to get pregnant, whether through IVF or naturally, you should aim to make sure your weight is healthy for your height before trying to conceive.

Because not only does extra weight affect your ability to get pregnant in the first place, obesity is also linked to increased health risks in pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia and premature birth.

It makes sense to make sure you’re healthy before embarking on any pregnancy plan. Because based on evidence, it really can make a difference as to whether you conceive or not.

Last updated: 5th August 2010