An individual’s body weight has a significant impact on his / her fertility. Under-weight or over-weight women and men have a higher risk of infertility. This is caused due to disruption in the hormonal balance that is necessary for normal egg (in women) and sperm (among men) production. Improper bodyweight can lead to approximately 30% decline in the likelihood of a pregnancy and healthy birth.
The body mass index (BMI) is the routine measure used to assess whether a person is under or over their ideal weight. BMI is calculated as weight (in kilograms) divided by height (in metre) squared.
|20 - 25||Desired weight|
|26 - 30||Overweight|
The effect of weight loss on fertility: Through various studies, it is seen that reducing weight in overweight women could restore menstrual cycle regularity. It was demonstrated that a weight reduction of 5% is enough to restore normal menstrual cycle function in up to 60% of overweight women. Furthermore, several studies have shown that if an overweight female partner reduces her weight before undergoing IVF the chance of becoming pregnant is dramatically improved.
Obesity and pregnancy outcome: It is understood that obesity has a significant negative impact on the outcome 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 is generally higher in overweight women. Some studies have also shown an increased incidence of Down’s syndrome in the children born from overweight mothers.
Obesity in males & its effect on male fertility: The potential for obese males to have a reduced sperm count does exist. Obesity can lower levels of the male hormone testosterone (which is directly linked to sperm count) that is converted to estrogen by fat cells. Obese males can also develop an apron of fat around the genital area heating up the testicles and potentially reducing sperm numbers.