New research findings suggest weight may not impact pregnancy efforts for women taking fertility drugs.
Age plays a factor on how easily a woman can get pregnant. For example, a woman in her 20s (without fertility treatments) trying to get pregnant has about a 50 percent chance of succeeding per menstrual cycle. The number declines with age and drops significantly after the age of 35. Also, heavier women often have a more difficult time getting pregnant than women of normal or average weight.
The report published in the journal of Fertility and Sterility says that the weight effect is overcome by higher doses of fertility drugs. According to Reuters, an increase of the ovulation-stimulating drugs ensures obese women have a have a similar concentration of the hormones as those with a lower body mass index (BMI), a ratio of weight to height.
The report shows the following women who sought treatments conceived:
• 25 percent of normal women
• 37 percent of overweight women
• 36 percent of obese women
Dr. Irene Souter, author of the study, told Reuters, these fertility rates are about equal, even though they look slightly inflated in larger women. Also, the study included fewer heavy women, so just one more pregnancy means a big difference.
Dr. Souter’s study included 477 women who had not had previous infertility treatments. The women started fertility treatments at the same time in their menstrual cycle. Because underweight and extremely obese women tend to have abnormal ovulation, they were excluded from the study.
It is unknown why heavier women have more trouble conceiving. However, doctors know heavier women tend to have increased problems in pregnancy. Issues during pregnancy may include but are not limited to high blood pressure, diabetes, low birth weight and premature baby delivery.
One issue with a higher dose of fertility drug is the cost increases. For example, the cost of a fertility treatment with artificial insemination and a combination of fertility drugs costs $400-$1200 dollars. An obese woman pays on average $200 more than lower BMI categories.