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Body Weight and Fertility, Is there a link?

Mrs M attends consultation few months after Genesis was started. Both couple had BMI far beyond 35, and Mrs M weighed 97 kilos. They had one miscarriage two years ago and were quite anxious regarding not being able to get pregnant since. I went through detailed history and arranged baseline investigations. I then went on discussing further details specifically regarding obesity.

Here are the details I discussed. Obese couple have more difficulties to conceive. Once they conceive, there is higher risk of miscarriage in the first 3 months. Once they successfully complete the first 3 months, there is higher incidence of high blood pressure and diabetes during rest of the pregnancy. Let’s say, all the 9 months have completed, there is higher risk of heavy blood loss during delivery. I then continued discussion regarding the baby. I mentioned that when it comes to the baby, there is higher incidence of heart disease during pregnancy and distress during labour. Unfortunately, they sometimes end up being stillborn. It is heart breaking and is tough! Children born to obese couples have higher incidence of obesity and diabetes when they grow up. And of course, to begin with, there is higher dose requirement of gonadotrophins (hormone injections), lesser success rate due to reduced implantation. Success rate of IVF is lesser in obese couples in comparison with couples with normal weight.

Mrs M and husband returned with all the investigations, rest were all normal, except that Mrs M was found to be hypothyroid. I commenced her on medication and advised her toreturn after a month with repeat thyroid hormone profile. To all our pleasant surprise, her thyroid levels were not only under control, but she also missed her period and Bingo! Her urine pregnancy test was positive. Rest of the pregnancy went well and she delivered healthy baby to end the story well.

Do all stories end this way? I wish they do. But they don’t!

The prevalence of overweight and obesity are increasing and have become an epidemic worldwide. Obesity translates to having an unhealthy amount of body fat. Weight loss is an important goal for obese patients because it ameliorates or eliminates many of the medical illnesses associated with obesity such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, sleep apnoea, stroke and of course fertility issues. We will focus on fertility issues in this blog. The prevalence of infertility is higher in infertile women.

Body Mass Index (BMI) measures body fat composite, based on height and weight. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines obesity as a BMI of 30 or more. In overweight and obese women, hormonal imbalance in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is greater.

Ovulation becomes difficult. And there is increased risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) after ovarian stimulation in IVF.

Having said all this, it does not mean that obese couples do not get pregnant naturally. Of course they do! But when there is infertility, obesity has to be addressed – to maximise the success rate. So it’s highly recommended that the couple get fit before trying for a pregnancy to avoid disappointment when trying to conceive.

Couples trying for pregnancy must start a healthy eating and exercise plan. By making healthy changes to diet and increasing daily physical activity, significantly improve pregnancy outcomes.

When it comes to men, obesity is linked to an increased incidence of oligozoospermia (low sperm count), asthenozoospermia (low sperm speed) and a higher risk of sperm DNA damage. And all in turn leading to reduced fertility.

In conclusion, it seems sensible for obese couple to lose weight before commencing fertility treatment. This can be achieved by any dietary options, intermittent fasting, high protein low carb, or any dietician/ diet programme couple wish to join. It not the means but the end that matters.

We hope we have cleared most of your doubts and queries related to Bodyweight And Fertility.

If you have been trying to conceive a baby for more than a year and need medical assistance, get in touch with the experienced fertility specialists at Genesis Fertility and Laparoscopy Centre. We have advanced in-house medical equipment and vast expertise in offering a large variety of fertility treatments such as IUI – Intra-Uterine Insemination, IVF –In-Vitro Fertilization, ICSI – Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, donor egg and sperm treatments, egg freezing, Pre-implantation genetic treatments, frozen embryo transfer,surrogacy, etc.

Schedule your appointment with the distinguished fertility experts at Genesis Fertility and Laparoscopy Centre for a thorough medical check-up, accurate diagnosis, and effective treatment of all leading infertility disorders. We promise a comfortable medical experience for you all!

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