Weight loss and getting pregnant
The effects of obesity on fertility outcomes were discussed at the Fertility Society of Australia’s 29th Annual Scientific Meeting in October 2010. It was attended by 30 nurses, scientists and doctors from Genea. Australia has >7 million adults either overweight or obese.
The meeting was certainly an experience, with international speakers and some of Australia’s experts in fertility presenting their work. The theme for this year’s meeting was “A Healthy Start”. The health consequences of obesity are fairly well known these days, especially heart disease and diabetes. However, the impact on fertility and pregnancy outcomes is less well known.
Here are some interesting points of interest on the subject of obesity that were discussed:
1. Obesity in either the male or female can significantly affect fertility outcomes.
2. Babies born to just one obese parent have an increased risk of hypertension, heart disease and diabetes later in life.
3. There are marked changes in the ovarian environment in obese females that can lead to:
- Reduced ovulation and fertilization rates
- Reduced pregnancy rates
- Fewer eggs retrieved with assisted reproduction techniques (ART) and lower success rates.
4. There are increased risks of DNA damaged sperm being produced and lower testostorone levels in obese males that can lead to:
- Reduced sperm function
- Reduced embryo implantation rates
- Lower pregnancy rates
- Increased pregnancy loss
- A risk of infertility issues being passed on to the baby.
Genea has long recognised the association between obesity and fertility and offers a Fertility Fit® Program for couples. A number of participants have achieved success through both IVF and natural conception following sensibly managed weight loss.