In Vitro fertilization (IVF) and Obesity

In Vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most innovative methods for managing infertility and makes use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) to increase the chances that you will conceive. It is a process by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the womb. IVF is a major treatment in infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed. This process involves hormonally controlling the ovulatory process, removing ova (eggs) from the woman’s ovaries and letting sperm fertilize them into a fluid medium. The fertilized egg is then transferred to the patient’s uterus with the intent to establish a successful pregnancy.

A women’s weight can affect her fertility. Obesity leads to decreased fertility in women with irregular menstrual period. Again, obesity results in an increased production of estrogen-this hormonal imbalance interferes with ovulation, which is the basis of successful conception. As you lose weight, the hormonal effect of excess fat decreases. This may result in a substantial increase in your fertility.

Women who are obese and attempting to get pregnant using IVF can also expect better results if they lose weight. You might have a significantly improved chance for success if you reduce your weight through weight loss surgery.

Obesity in In vitro fertilization (IVF) patients has been associated with increased cycle cancellation rates, reduced live birth rates and increased miscarriages. Additionally, obese women are more likely to encounter delivery complications including preterm delivery, fetal macrosomia, increased need for induction of labor, greater utilization of instrumental delivery and a higher risk of emergency cesarean section. Therefore, obese women should consider the importance of weight reduction and adopt effective strategies before preconception.

Another issue related to body weight and IVF is safety for the patient at the egg retrieval. When a woman is significantly obese, the ovaries are usually pushed up high by the extra fatty tissue that is in the pelvis. At the time of IVF, the needle is pushed to reach the eggs in the ovaries and if the ovaries are too high, it will be very difficult to get the needle into the follicles to get the eggs out.

Another problem is that the ultrasound images become very hazy because of the extra tissue under the ovary. It is often very difficult to visualize clearly the ovaries and the egg containing follicles.

Woman, who is obese (BMI over 30 and higher) and undergoing fertility treatment, has less chance of success and higher chance of miscarriage rates. Prior to performing IVF, patients should know the impact of obesity on their IVF success rates. And losing weight through bariatric surgery can have a dramatic effect in terms of enhancing the chance of a successful pregnancy.

Proper exercise and diet are important for maintaining good health and proper weight. Obesity surgery may help couples have babies. Patients who underwent weight loss surgery improve the ability to conceive after they have IVF. Reproductive hormone levels are restored to normal only after weight loss surgery.

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