Weight Has Little Impact on IVF Outcomes
This article at MedPage Today started out pretty good, but ended up with the usual fat-phobic cautions that we always see when researchers find that being fat isn't really the danger they thought it was. Keep in mind that the number of women involved in the study is very small - 241 "overweight" women, 221 "obese" women, and 475 "normal-weight" women, not really enough to draw valid conclusions from, I would think.
If I'm reading this article correctly, infertile women who have a BMI over 25, over 30, and even over 40 don't have any more trouble conceiving, staying pregnant, or delivering when treated at fertility clinics than women who have a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 (the differences quoted in the study are within the margin of error for such studies).
Among 241 overweight women with a body mass index of 25 to 29.99 kg/m2, the ongoing pregnancy rate was 44.4%, compared with a rate of 40.6% among 475 normal-weight women (P=0.26), said Kim Parker, BS, a medical student at the Regional Fertility Program in Calgary, Alberta.
The rate among 221 women with body mass index in excess of 30 kg/m2 was 41.4% (P=0.90 compared with normal-weight women), Parker said at her poster presentation during the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
According to the above, “overweight” women do better than “normal” weight women – 44.4% vs 40.6% (but still within that margin of error). And “obese” women do better than “normal” weight women – 41.4% vs 40.6% (still within the margin of error).
"Overweight and obese patients do not have reduced clinical pregnancy rates, implantation rates, or ongoing pregnancy rates when compared with normal-weight patients," Parker told MedPage Today.
Now, if that's the case, why are doctors at fertility clinics refusing to treat infertile fat women? It can't be that they think they are wasting their time trying to help these women get pregnant, that fat women can't get pregnant even with help, nor can they not stay pregnant if they do happen to get pregnant – this study shows that not to be so. Of course, you can show people facts until the cows come home, but that doesn't mean they will believe those facts or act on them.
Parker noted that the study did not take into consideration possible pregnancy-related complications that might have been caused by excess weight. Parker said that the study is continuing.
While the study did not appear to show problems with higher body mass index, Parker and colleagues recommended that "patients who are obese should be encouraged to reduce their overall body weight and have a return to health before attempting to become pregnant."
And of course, the article has to end with the usual fat-hating cautionary canard – pregnancy-related complications caused by excess weight (never mind that those same complications can be found in “normal-size” women).
And it also has to throw in that fat women need to be “encouraged” to reduce their weight and “return to health” before attempting to become pregnant. Never mind that fat women can have normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar, normal cholesterol, and be physically fit, just like their thinner sisters. Talk about conflating size with health – what started out to be a fair article for helping infertile fat women become pregnant ended with the usual fat-phobic nonsense.