Q&A: Can weight affect fertility?
Can being overweight cause infertility?
Absolutely, in fact, obesity is the leading cause of infertility in the US today. There are many possible mechanisms by which being overweight may cause fertility problems. The most common problem is that it interferes with the process of ovulation. However, this is not the only issue. Women who are overweight have lower pregnancy rates and higher miscarriage rates even when using treatments that do not rely on ovulation such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
In a recent study of 3600 women undergoing in-vitro fertilization:
- Obese women had a 27 percent lower chance of pregnancy
- Morbidly obese women had a 50 percent lower chance
In a study of 2300 in-vitro fertilization pregnancies:
- Overweight women had 29 percent higher rate of miscarriage
- Obese women had a 71 percent higher rate of miscarriage
- Morbidly obese women had more than double the risk (219 percent higher)
Numerous studies have shown that fertility improves with weight loss.