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Robert Winston
Fertility expert and one of the world's pioneers of IVF and Fertility Medicine. BAFTA award-winning television presenter and Member of The House of Lords in the UK.
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Fertility in women

Can body weight affect a woman’s fertility?

Being overweight or underweight can significantly reduce a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.  Overweight men may also have reduced fertility.
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In Short

Even a few points above normal BMI can halve a woman’s chances of success for IVF.

Overweight is a BMI above 25.

Obese is a BMI above 30.

Underweight is a BMI under 18.

Overweight men also have reduced fertility.

Can body weight affect chances of pregnancy success?

There is no question that even mild obesity (or worse) is a very significant reason for all assisted conception treatments to fail. I would strongly advise anybody to try to get to as close to a normal weight as possible before undertaking them. A few points above normal BMI may halve a woman’s chance of success. This will almost certainly mean not only diet but a degree of regular exercise. It is best to wait until one’s body weight is in equilibrium. Similarly, women who are underweight are also at risk of failure, have a higher chance of miscarriage and more serious complications during pregnancy – if they conceive at all. Overweight is a BMI above 25. Obese is a BMI above 30. Underweight is a BMI under 18.

The Genesis Research Trust

Despite countless breakthroughs in medical science, we still do not understand why some pregnancies will end in tragedy. For most of us, having a child of our own is the most fulfilling experience of our lives. All of us can imagine the desperation and sadness of parents who lose a baby, and the life-shattering impact that a disabled or seriously ill child has on a family.

Professor Robert Winston’s Genesis Research Trust raises money for the largest UK-based collection of scientists and clinicians who are researching the causes and cures for conditions that affect the health of women and babies.

Essential Parent is proud to support their wonderful work. You can learn more about them here.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.