BMI and IVF
Bay IVF - Advanced Reproductive Care                                Palo Alto  650-322-0500

 

Impact of Female Weight on IVF Success

By Francis Polansky, M.D.

The outcome of IVF treatment depends primarily on the intrinsic quality of eggs and sperm rather than the performance of an IVF clinic. Reproductive treatments cannot improve the egg and sperm quality, but patients’ close adherence to reproductive health guidelines can result in an improved capacity of eggs and sperm to result in a healthy baby.

Since IVF success depends much more on the quality of eggs than the quality of sperm, the egg quality should be optimized as much as possible before IVF treatment begins. Keeping the future mother’s weight within a normal range is the most significant contribution to optimizing egg quality.

Increased maternal weight can have a profound negative effect on the IVF procedure and its outcome. A healthy normal adult Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9, the overweight range is 25.0 to 29.9, and obesity is 30 and above. Increased BMI can have several negative impacts on the IVF treatment:

 

  • More medication needed to stimulate the ovaries
    Women with BMI over 25 typically need above average amount of medication to stimulate their ovaries for In Vitro Fertilization, yet they still may develop a suboptimal number of eggs.
  • Lower egg quality
    High BMI disrupts glucose-insulin metabolism, which plays a crucial role in maturing and developing eggs within the ovaries.
  • The safety of egg retrieval procedure
    The egg retrieval procedure is done as a transvaginal egg aspiration with ultrasound guidance. With increasing BMI, the quality of ultrasound images deteriorates. For the safety during the egg retrieval at Bay IVF, the patient’s weight must be no greater than the following high limits (BMI of 29):

 

Height 4ft 10in 4ft 11in 5ft 0in 5ft 1in 5ft 2in 5ft 3in 5ft 4in 5ft 5in 5ft 6in 5ft 7in 5ft 8in 5ft 9in 5ft 10in 5ft 11in 6ft 0in 6ft 1in
Max. Weight (lb) 139 143 148 152 159 163 168 174 179 185 190 196 201 207 214 218
Height 4ft 11in 5ft 0in 5ft 1in 5ft 2in 5ft 3in 5ft 4in 5ft 5in 5ft 6in 5ft 7in 5ft 8in 5ft 9in 5ft 10in 5ft 11in 6ft 0in
Max. Weight (lb) 143 148 152 159 163 168 174 179 185 190 196 201 207 214

 

  • Decreased uterine receptivity
    Multiple studies have shown that increased female weight can negatively affect the quality of eggs. Until recently, it has not been clear whether increased weight may also lower the receptivity of the uterus. A large study of almost 10,000 cycles of donor egg In Vitro Fertilization showed that the probability of live birth was reduced with each BMI increase of the recipient mother.
  • Increased risk of baby’s heart defects
    In a Swedish study of over two million births, there was a steadily increasing risk of heart defect rates in offspring (aortic branch defects, atrial septal defects, and persistent ductus arteriosus) with increasing maternal BMI. However, the study also found that exercise, whether begun by mothers at a young age or later in life, mitigated the risk of congenital heart disease in the offspring.

 

At Bay IVF, we strongly recommend that patients adhere to our reproductive health guidelines. They can optimize health, may improve the quality of eggs and sperm, and would result in a gradual weight loss and arriving at one’s ideal BMI.

June 2022

 

 

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