Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago ivf

Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago

Fertility, IVF and Egg Donation

How Body Weight Impacts IVF Success

by on Feb.18, 2019, under IVF Clinic Success Rates

Studies show that lifestyle factors have a profound effect on fertility. One of these critical factors is body weight.

Not only does body weight impact a woman’s ability to conceive a child naturally, a high BMI puts a woman undergoing assisted reproduction, such as in-vitro fertilization, at risk.

BMI is a measure of body size that is calculated by combining height and weight. It is often used as a health screening tool.  A BMI that is out of range, either too high or too low, puts a person at risk for serious medical conditions.

A person with high BMI may experience insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, or high blood pressure. Women with low BMI may suffer from anovulation, osteoporosis, and anemia.


High Body Weight Puts Women Undergoing IVF At Risk

Studies show that significantly overweight women are at greater risk for medical complications during treatment cycles and after conception.

Obese patients:

  • Require high doses of medication to stimulate their ovaries
  • Are less responsive to treatment, which means fewer eggs upon retrieval.
  • Have eggs of lesser quality, and a lower rate of fertilization.


High BMI Affects Outcome                              

IVF data from our laboratory indicates that increased body weight (BMI > 30 kg/m2) has a significant negative effect on IVF pregnancy success rates.  Published studies have also shown a higher miscarriage rate and lower live birth rate with women that have a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2.  For ongoing pregnancy, there is an increased risk of many complications with obese moms; including diabetes, hypertension, early delivery, stillbirth, birth defects and need for cesarean delivery.


A Little Weight Loss Can Make A Big Difference

A 5%–10% weight loss can improve fertility outcomes. Studies have shown that 5% weight loss results in improvement in hormone regulation, such as decrease in free testosterone, reduction in fasting insulin levels, and improved ovulation.

I am often asked by my OB/GYN physician colleagues about the BMI requirements for IVF patients.  At Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, we take an individual approach to each case; however, we follow guidelines set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and impose limits to ensure the safety of our patients. At this time, we have a BMI limit to undergo egg retrieval set at 42 kg/m2.  Besides the risks previously stated above, women with a higher BMI may be at increased risk of complications with the anesthesia used for the egg retrieval procedures.  In an office-based setting, with IV sedation, we are conservative in who we put under anesthesia so minimize these potential risks.

Michelle Catenacci MD

Michelle Catenacci, MD

Dr. Michelle Catenacci is a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist.
Click here to learn more.

Welcome to the
Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago

Richard Sherbahn, MD is a Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist.

Dr. Sherbahn founded the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago in 1997.

He will post regularly about fertility issues.

Dr. Richard Sherbahn
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