Obesity and Infertility

Obesity immediately brings to mind associations with hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Yet, most people are surprised to learn that there is an association between obesity and infertility. Adam Smith describes in The Wealth of Nations the impact of body weight on reproduction.

According to Dr. Parul Sehgal (IVF Specialist):

Epidemiological data confirm that obesity accounts for 6% of primary infertility, and even more surprising, that low body weight in women accounts for 6% of primary infertility. Thus, 12% of primary infertility results from deviations in body weight from established norms, and that this infertility can be corrected by restoring body weight to within normal established limits.

According to Dr. Shivani Sabharwal

(Sr. Consultant, Dept. of OBGYN, Jeewan Mala Hospital, New Rohtak Road)

More than 70% of women who are infertile as the result of body weight disorders will conceive spontaneously if their weight disorder is corrected. Yet, body weight is often considered last in an infertility evaluation.


Mechanisms For Alteration Of Reproductive Function:
Body weight and infertility are inter-related. Sex steroid hormones—testosterone (the main male hormone) and estradiol (the main female hormone)—are lipid soluble, i.e.; they dissolve in fat but not in water. Thus, these hormones accumulate in body fat. Once body fat stores are saturated with sex steroid hormones, they reach equilibrium with blood. In addition to the stored source of sex steroid hormones in body fat, the gonads secrete testosterone and estradiol to maintain the levels necessary to sustain reproductive function.
In addition to the storage capacity of body fat for sex steroid hormones, adipose cells (fat cells) convert the weak male hormone, androstenedione, to the weak female hormone, estrone. Estrone, alters reproductive function. These complex interactions have the net effect of impairing reproductive function like Anovulation (No egg formation).


Treatment of weight-related reproductive disorders
Obese women are more apt to acknowledge the impact of obesity on reproductive function than are slender women. However, the challenge of weight loss is just as daunting as is the challenge of weight gain for slender women. Most obese people (men and women) have tried diets, exercise programs and other methods to lose weight, but have not been successful. When a physician recommends a weight reduction program for obese people trying to conceive, the patient (couple) often views this recommendation as another wasted effort .
Obesity Surgery not only helps them to loose weight but also allows them to maintain their weight for all times to come and is a blessing for fat people having Fertility problems.
The approach that a physician takes to weight reduction shapes the outcome. Obese women need education and counseling.

According to Dr. Arush Sabharwal:

He had operated on a young couple having infertility issues. The boy was initially Azospermia ( Zero Sperm Count: Before Surgery) and 1 yr after his Sperm count increased to 10 million. Obesity Surgery is the Surgery which can not only make the a person’s dream come true of becoming thin but also do wonders for the treatment of associated disorders like Infertility, Diabetes, Hypertension, and Snoring. Obesity Surgery is ideal if a couple wants to plan their pregnancy after a year and a half. It will raise their chances for a successful pregnancy multifold.

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