Obesity: what is the effect of this disorder on assisted reproduction?


Infertility affects one in six couples during their reproductive years, and since the beginning of last century it has increased progressively. Even though age is probably the most determining factor, it’s not the only one that has demonstrated to have a direct effect on the ability to procreate. Social changes have also caused modifications of habits: food, level of physical activity, tobacco or the abuse of alcohol and caffeine consumption are some of them.

According to WHO data, since 1980 obesity has more than doubled worldwide. In 2014, more than 1900 million adults were overweight, of which more than 600 million were obese.

With regard to the influence of obesity on the results of assisted reproduction treatments, studies carried out concluded that the live birth rate is lower in women that are obese.

Obese women need higher doses of medication and for a longer period of time, and the results obtained are less effective. This causes a lower number of oocytes and embryos, and these have less quality. Additionally, there are endometrial alterations and, therefore, a lower gestation rate.

Finally, we should not forget that obese women will have a higher risk of spontaneous miscarriage and the fetal death rate is twice as much than the rate observed in women with perfect weight.