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  • "heidimars" started this thread

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Monday, February 15th 2010, 12:23pm

Can obesity play a major role in infertility?

My cousin has been trying to conceive for 4 years now. They say it's because of her weight that she can't get pregnant until now.
(8 o)



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Monday, February 15th 2010, 12:42pm

Hey there

Welcome to FZ! If you have a look around the Newbie thread you will find out how to get the best out of this site.

It's a harsh reality to face but the answer to your question is, yes, obesity does affect fertility to quite a large degree. If you have a look at the thread below it will give you some more information on this.

I wish your cousin luck in her journey, I know there is a good support thread on here for ladies trying to lose weight, maybe you could persuade her to have a look and join in?


Love Gracie


Me - 40 AMH 1.79, DH - 45
TTC since 04/06
6 x TX to date, inc 2 DIVF in Barcelona

One early loss, 04/09
Freya Grace arrived on 6/11/10 - Perfect at 6lb and 1/2 oz

Amazing natural :BFP: on 12/02/12
Poppy Ann arrived on 13/10/12 - Born at home weighing 6lb 12oz

We got there in the end! happydance



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Tuesday, February 16th 2010, 8:57pm


Just wanted to say welcome to FZ.

Unfortunately Gracie is right. Weight plays a huge factor in infertility unfortunately.

The thread she's given you is great though.

Wishing your cousin luck on her journey.

Our miracle was born on 25.02.2010!!


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Wednesday, February 24th 2010, 4:59am


I know every one says that weight is a big factor but i know quiet a few girls that have been "bigger" and have fallen pregnant after a few months.

Medically I think Dr look at you and say lose weight cause it effects you in so many ways falling pregnant and added strain on your body is not good.

Put it this way i'm a bigger girl but carry my weight evenly over my body hence not looking as big as what i weigh, i have been TTC for 4 years with no luck at all, my girl friend whom is a very large girl pushing 140kg (not sure what that is in pounds) fell pregnant naturally after just 3 months of TTCing. it sux but it does happen genetic make up has a big part of it as well. explore your options i have had to and is really interesting to see what helps and what doesn't.

Send her hugs for me and tell he we understand XOXO [zx127]
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life is always a challange... thats why we chose to fight.



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Wednesday, February 24th 2010, 8:03am

Doctors use a calculation called a Body Mass Index (BMI) to quantify your weight categorically.

The BMI is figured by taking your body weight in kilograms and dividing it by your height in meters squared.

• BMI 19-25 = Healthy
• BMI 26-29 = Overweight
• BMI 30-39 = Obese
• BMI 40+ = Extremely Obese

The bad news is that if you have a BMI over 30 you are classed as obese.

  • Obese women are significantly less likely to have regular ovulatory cycles

  • Obese women are significantly less likely to conceive naturally or with treatment.

  • Chance of implantation is significantly lowered in obese women.

  • Obese women are more likely to miscarry a pregnancy

  • Obese women are up to 15 times more likely to have complications during pregnancy.

  • Obese women are much more likely to develop gestational diabetes

  • Obese women are more likely to give birth to a baby with neural tube defects

  • Obese women are 30% more likely to deliver a stillborn baby

  • Sons of obese women are significantly more likely to experience infertility

  • The children of an obese woman are significantly more likely to be obese themselves

:( For every BMI unit over 29, your chance of achieving pregnancy falls by 4%.

:( If you have a BMI of between 35 and 40 you are classed as severely obese.

:( Women who are severely obese have a 23% to 43% less chance of achieving pregnancy compared to women with a BMI lower than 29.

Women who are classified as overweight, obese or extremely obese all have lower pregnancy rates in general, for a variety of reasons, and this can lead to issues with infertility. It should also be noted that polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a disorder that can impact fertility, is commonly associated with being overweight or obese.

It is important to note that a BMI that is too low (under 18 ) also can have fertility complications. Lower BMIs are associated with irregular or no menstrual cycles and problems with ovulation.

When it comes to fertility and infertility, studies have shown that a BMI higher than 32 for women is associated with lower conception rates when using assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). There is also a higher cycle cancellation rate in obese women. This is why reproductive endocrinologists often advise patients with higher BMIs to consider losing weight before undergoing fertility treatments.

There are other potential problems for women who are obese (BMI 30-39). Not only do they have higher complication rates in pregnancy, but the actual egg retrieval is more dangerous. As can be seen in the ultrasound images below, when a woman is significantly overweight, the ovaries are usually pushed up "high" - away from the top of the vagina by the extra fatty tissue that is in the pelvis. At the time of IVF, the needle is pushed in vaginally to reach the eggs in the ovaries. If the ovaries are too high, a needle can not be safely inserted into the follicles to get the eggs out.

Another problem is that the ultrasound images become very "fuzzy" from the extra tissue between the probe and the ovary. Therefore, it is often difficult to clearly visualize the ovaries and the egg-containing follicles. This is shown below - the ovary in the image on the right is very fuzzy and indistinct. This makes it difficult to properly measure the follicles in the ovaries, and can also make it hard to be sure where the needle tip is located at all times during the egg retrieval procedure (a potential safety issue).

IVF egg aspiration in progress. This woman has a normal body mass index (BMI of 24). Ovary circled in blue. Red line is top of vagina. Area between red and blue lines is tissue at top of vagina. Needle (at right side of image along white dots) is passed through the top of vagina to get the eggs out of the ovary. The ovary is "low" - on top of the vagina - where we want it for a safe, effective egg retrieval..

This woman is obese with a body mass index is 37. In her case, eggs can't be retrieved saely. Right ovary circled in blue. Red line is top of vagina. Area between red and blue lines is tissue at the top of the vagina, as well as fatty tissue and possibly bowel. Slicing through this tissue with the needle to get to the ovary (and eggs) is not safe. A complication could occur from damaging bowel, blood vessels, etc. The ovary here is "high" - well above the top of the vagina

Many articles report that obesity has a significant negative impact on the out come of pregnancy and the offspring. Obese women who become pregnant have an increased risk of hypertension; pregnancy related diabetes, urinary infections Caesarian sections and assisted delivery. In addition, the miscarriage rate was reported to be much higher in overweight women. Other studies have shown an increased incidence of Down’s syndrome in the children born from overweight mothers

Bottom line:
If you are overweight (BMI over about 28 ) and having trouble getting pregnant, try to lose weight. If you have irregular menstrual cycles (anovulation, or irregular ovulation) and you are overweight, weight loss could make your cycle regular - thereby making you more fertile.

If you are obese (BMI of 30 or higher) and need IVF, you might have a significantly improved chance for success if you reduce your weight before going through the procedure.

While there may be an additional struggle to 'get' pregnant if you are overweight, if you 'do' get pregnant there is also a higher risk of miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, complications in labour, stillbirth and dirth defects in overweight women. Research by the CEMACH Maternal Death Enquiry showed that 35% of women who died in childbirth had were obese, along with this, 30% of Mothers who had a stillbirth or neonatal death were obese.

If you are obese (BMI over 30), you are likely to...

* Find it much harder to get pregnant
* Be at a higher risk of miscarriage
* Be at a higher risk of having complications in labour
* Be at a higher risk of stillbirth
* Be at a higher risk of having a child with birth defects
* Be more likely to spend an average of five days longer in hospital than a person with a healthy BMI

A very important factor in Maternal obesity is that if a woman was overweight before she became pregnant, her child is up to three times more likely to be overweight by the age of seven than a child whose mother was not overweight or obese. The more obese a woman was before she became pregnant, the greater the risk that her child would be overweight or obese

Have we supported you? Can you support us?


My journey has now ended. 6 babies in Heaven.

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Wednesday, February 24th 2010, 8:46am


i think the above posts give all the info you need, but i just wanted to say that all clinics have criteria (even private ones when you pay) that state a woman should not have a BMI greater than 30. I have heard of some clinics saying 33, but from personal experience 30 is the cut off.

At my clinic they have different prices for drugs depending on your BMI as the bigger a lady is the more drugs she needs to pump her body with to get a response, plus the compliactions of EC which Eeyore has mentioned in her above post, all in all it seems the healthier and slimmer you are beofre, the better treatment will be on your body and the outcome of pregnancy is greater

hope that helps, good luck x

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Wednesday, February 24th 2010, 9:24am

Hi just to second what everyone has already said although bigger girls can get preggers in general its more difficult. I am a big girl and have just been through a cancelled cycle of ICSI (no follicles) and the nurse struggled to see anything at my scans im sure it was due to my weight although she was kind enough not to say this!! Clinics have different cut offs, the NHS one in Glasgow will treat up to BMI 35 and the private clinic that I attended treat a BMI up to 40 so they all differ.
Me 37 (low AMH) DH 40 (LSC)
TTC since Dec 2006
ICSI 1-Jan 2010 no response
ICSI 2-March 2011 (1 egg) BFN
ICSI 3 DE -Currently on 2WW test 24/3/12



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Wednesday, February 24th 2010, 9:29am

It's true that it's not impossible to conceive when overweight but the research does indeed boil down to the fact that it's harder to get pregnant, it's harder to stay pregnant, there's a much higher risk of something going wrong with the Mum or the baby and the birth is more likely to have complications which could be dangerous to both.

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Wednesday, February 24th 2010, 4:15pm

I'm overweight and it took me a while to fall pg (although I only have 1 tube and was told it could take longer) I don't always ovulate, I conceived first time with Clomid but sadly had a mmc and although I'll never know if being obese was a factor in this, it probably wasn't but it may not have helped. I then got pg naturally but towards end of pregnancy developed gestational diabetes and had high blood pressure. When i had my antenatal classes we were shown around the birthing suite and I was the only one who knew I wouldn't be giving birth there because I was 'high risk'. Don't get me wrong, I didn't feel ill at all through my pregnancy and my DD was fine but I ended up having a c-section. I could have had these problems if I wasn't overweight but its more likely you WILL have them if you are.

We want to try for another baby towards the end of the year and I don't want to have all the extra appts and be deemed as high risk just becasue of my weight.(I know some of the risk factors have nothing to do with weight). I want to be healthy and slim BEFORE I start trying again.I've lost a stone so far, another 3 to go!

I was overweight when I got pg and its really not the best thing, if you are you are and it doesn't mean that you won't be a good Mum but I would use the time waiting for treament to get as healthy as I can. I learnt from it and thats why it will be different the next time (if I'm lucky enough!).



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Saturday, February 22nd 2014, 6:15pm

thanks for this

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Friday, May 2nd 2014, 12:31pm

Yes, it’s proven clinically that obesity affects your chances of getting pregnant. It leads to PCOD, increases chances of miscarriages. But many a times, it is mistaken to be limited to women only. No, even obese men are at greater risk of developing infertility as well!!!
Excess body weight affects sperm production. Hormone leptin, which is produced by fat cells, might damage sperm cells or the cells that produce them. Or it could be that elevated temperatures within the scrotum, due to more fat tissue, harm sperm cells.
Still, no one can assume, weight is the only factor. In fact, weight is probably only a factor less than 10 percent of the time. The primary obstacle for overweight women is ovulation. If your physician suggests all your problems will be solved simply by losing weight, seek a second opinion because even if your weight is an issue, it is something medications can work around.
Entering pregnancy at a normal weight is healthier in any case, and can reduce the risk of some pregnancy complications, like gestational diabetes.
My best wishes to your cousin.




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Monday, December 14th 2015, 9:11pm

yes and i agree with Flic- huge role, but not major

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Wednesday, September 28th 2016, 7:48am

When couples suffer from infertility problems reproductive endocrinologists recommend special fertility evaluations or tests that are very progressive and positive. IVF is a kind of Fertility test which is highly applied by couples to become pregnant. Visit here: My Fertility Manual | Forums for more information

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Wednesday, May 16th 2018, 8:26pm

It's a harsh reality to face but the answer to your question is, yes, obesity does affect fertility to quite a large degree. If you have a look at the thread below it will give you some more information on this.If your physician suggests all your problems will be solved simply by losing weight, seek a second opinion because even if your weight is an issue, it is something medications can work around.
Entering pregnancy at a normal weight is healthier in any case, and can reduce the risk of some pregnancy complications, like gestational diabetes.
I wish your cousin luck in her journey, I know there is a good support thread on here for ladies trying to lose weight, maybe you could persuade her to have a look and join in?



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Wednesday, May 30th 2018, 7:29am

Yes, obesity does hinder fertility. Also, losing weight to get pregnant is more important as obesity during pregnancy is important. As it brings lots of health problems also affects the baby. Advise her to go an obstetrician so that he can refer her to a good nutritionist for a healthy diet plan. However, it is possible that obese can get pregnant but it takes a whole lot of work to manage diet, exercise, and medications.



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Wednesday, May 30th 2018, 1:55pm

Sujas please stop putting random comments on threads that are years out of date and obviously no longer active ! D

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Thursday, May 31st 2018, 1:14pm

Hi. How are you doing? sorry to hear about your friend. I have never heard of such a thing before. But I do feel like it could be a factor. I'm no doctor so I can't really tell. Maybe she is facing some unexplained infertility issues. It could be something else in my opinion. She should see a doctor about this. See what he says. The doctor will run some tests to see what the problem is. Sometimes, nothing seems to be wrong. But the person still doesn't conceive. This is called unexplained infertility. It is actually more common than we think it is. Your friend can try IVF for herself. If that doesn't work, she can always adopt or have a child through surrogacy. It is being done at a very affordable price these days.