BMI and IVF, Should I Be Concerned?

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Some of the more common questions asked by the patients at First Fertility are regarding their weight, lifestyle or BMI. Rising obesity rates across the world have meant that, unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly hard to ignore the issue. This is worrying for patients undergoing IVF treatment as the potential consequences of having a high weight or BMI on the success of their IVF treatment becomes apparent. It is definitely something that needs considering before starting your treatments for the best possible chances of success

Many countries like the UK that provide publicly funded fertility assistance programs have set up clinical commissions (or CCG’s) in order to allocate public funding for IVF and other fertility treatments. They set standards that recipients of these treatments must meet and one of those is in regards to weight and BMI and they stipulate that a person must be “of a healthy weight”  and a BMI of between 19 and 30 in order to be approved for funding. However, the statistics released by WHO has shown that over 400 million people are currently obese. This renders a large demographic of the reproductive female population with an unideal BMI to receive IVF Treatment.

What is BMI and How Does It Affect My IVF Treatment?

BMI, or Body Mass Index, is the term given to the system of measurement of a person’s body fat in relation to their weight and height. This measurement is one of the ways to tell the level of a persons obesity problem and will be the primary method used by the experts at First Fertility to evaluate their patients for IVF suitability. But how significant an impact does your BMI have on your IVF success chances?

Your BMI is your weight (kgs) divided by your height (m2) and to give you an idea of the real world implications of this, the average man’s height of around 1.82m should have an ideal weight of between 60kg-90kgs for IVF treatments. A woman at the average height of 1.70m, on the other hand, should have a weight of around 53.5kg-84kg to reach her ideal BMI for fertility treatment.

 

However, your chances for success do not solely hinge on your individual BMI alone as BMI measurements do not make considerations for a number of other factors that could potentially affect this number. Namely things like physical activity and muscle structure of the person in question, for example, some athletes with more muscle than the average person would still be considered overweight according to their BMI as muscle tends to be heavier than fat. Also to consider is age, as people get older they lose some of their bone density and it is important to consider this and adjust the analysis accordingly depending on the individual patient and their lifestyle.

How Does My Weight Affect My Fertility

There has been much and is much, ongoing research to determine exactly how individual lifestyle choices can affect a person’s overall fertility and success with fertility treatments. Being too underweight can have a significant effect on the number of nutrients that your body has to use to produce eggs, which can lead to some women failing to ovulate in a normal way, or in some extreme cases, not at all. On the other hand, women who are overweight can find that their insulin levels are not within normal ranges and this can also affect their ovaries to the point where they case egg production as their bodies start to produce more male hormones.

Any deviation from the normal parameters of ovulation can have a significant impact on an individual’s ability to get pregnant and women who are over or under the ideal body weight are most likely to experience problems with this. However, this is clearly not a be-all-and-end-all situation as many overweight and underweight women have perfectly normal ovulation and are able to get conceive with no issues.

Implications for Patients Over 35

Other key factors to keep in mind are things like a patient’s age and how a change in their BMI may positively or negatively affect their chances of conceiving in relation to their age. One study conducted in 2008 by a group of scientists concluded that the link between BMI and an increase or decrease in IVF success rates was more age related than anything else. So for women who are over 30, the key factor is not so much your individual weight or BMI but time and getting your treatments as early in your life as possible.

How can change my BMI to help my IVF treatments?

We here at First Fertility believe that we should not discriminate against women of a larger weight and we are happy to treat all patients who require our services. Our belief is that a well-balanced diet consisting of all the nutrients and vitamins that your body needs as well as regular exercise will help improve your chances of success. However, we do not hold women to account for their exact BMI.

While we do not hold women sternly to having a set range of BMI, if you feel that you want to make positive lifestyle choices to improve your chances of success then that can only be a good thing. Here are a few quick-fire tips from the experts at First Fertility to help you do this.

  • Increasing your intake of healthy fats found in things like avocados, nuts, and seeds for natural hormone production.
  • Eating proper amounts of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and grains can ensure your intake of all the essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs to thrive.
  • Regular, passive exercise like yoga or treadmill walking can improve stress levels and circulation.
  • Staying away from fatty, sugary, caffeine heavy or processed foods and completely cutting out alcohol will help to improve your reproductive system as a whole.
  • Taking pregnancy multivitamins that include things like vitamin D and folic acid can help ensure your body Is putting these nutrients and lifestyle changes to good use.

First Fertility can help you improve your lifestyle and, in turn, your chances of conceiving by providing professional IVF treatment in Bangkok.

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