The Impact of Obesity on Fertility

Updated: 12/24/18 The Impact of Obesity on Fertility

Couples where both individuals are obese may take 55 to 59 percent longer to achieve pregnancy (compared to non-obese couples), according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

The 501 couples involved were a part of the 'Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment Study', which looked at the relationship between fertility and environmental chemicals.  The couples were from Michigan and Texas, and the women in the study kept record of their menstrual cycles, intercourse, and home pregnancy test results.  The couples were monitored until pregnancy or for up to one year of attempting to conceive.

The participant's BMI was calculated and they were classified into two groups of obesity - group one had a BMI of 30 to 34.9 - group two had a BMI of 35 or greater.  The researchers then calculated the probability that a couple would achieve pregnancy by using a statistical measure called the fecundability odds ratio (FOR).

The researchers compared the average time to achieve a pregnancy among couples in the non- obese group to that of the couples in the BMI of 35 or greater group.

The study found that the BMI 35+ group took longer to achieve pregnancy than non-obese couples. Couples in the non-obese group had a FOR of 1.  BMI 35+ couples had a FOR of .45, indicating that they took 55 percent longer to achieve pregnancy than the non-obese group. When the researchers took into account other factors known to influence fertility, the ratio for BMI 35+ couples lowered to .41 (59 percent longer to achieve pregnancy.)

The study concluded that couples' obesity may reduce the chances of fertility and that this should be taken into consideration when counseling couples about pregnancy.  Losing weight may help reduce the time needed to conceive.

Full Article Here: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/news/releases/Pages/020217-couple-obesity.aspx

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