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Weight Loss and Fertility: A Simple Guide

Lose-Weight-to-Get-Pregnant-300x200-3.jpgYou may be one of the millions of Americans who is overweight or obese. Whether you're male or female, if you also have fertility issues, losing weight may increase your chances of conceiving.

Here are some simple tips to increase the chances that you will be successful.

How does weight affect my fertility?

  • Obesity causes ovulatory dysfunction (abnormal, irregular, or absent ovulation)
  • The likelihood of irregular menstrual cycles increases in direct proportion to weight

Will my weight affect fertility treatment?

Yes, obesity is associated with:

  • Longer duration of treatment
  • Increased dosage of medication
  • Increased risk of treatment cancellations due to poor response
  • 30% decrease in IVF success (due to impaired absorption of medication due to increased fat stores, limited ability to visualize ovaries during ultrasound monitoring, and more challenging egg retrievals)
  • Increased risk of pregnancy loss (studies show up to two times as many as normal weight women)
  • Elevated risk of gestational diabetes
  • Elevated risk of high blood pressure while pregnant
  • Increased risk of birth defects
  • Increased risk of high birth weight
  • Increased risk of Cesarian section delivery

Do I have to lose a lot of weight to increase my fertility?

NO! Any amount of weight loss may improve fertility, but a loss of 5 to 10% of overall body weight can result in spontaneous ovulation in up to 60% of patients

What food-related changes can I make to lower my weight safely?

In general, avoid heavily processed foods and consume more whole foods, especially plants.

  • Avoid highly refined, high-glycemic carboyhdrates such as white flour, white rice, white potatoes, sugar, and products that contain these
  • Get your carbs with a low to moderate glycemic index from foods such as vegetables, some fruits, beans, and whole grains.
  • Try eating six small meals rather than two to three large ones
  • • NEVER skip breakfast
  • When snacking, try to consume some high-quality protein
  • Avoid trans fats and foods processed containing hydrogenated oils, shortening, and stick margarine
  • Minimize saturated fats such as fatty cuts of meat, butter, and whole-dairy products
  • Maximize your consumption of omega-3 fats found in walnuts, canola oil, flax seed, dark leafy greens, and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, lake trout, and herring

Should I exercise?

  • ABSOLUTELY! Exercise has more health benefits than just weight loss.
  • Regular exercise with improve your general health
  • Exercise can reduce stress and improve sleep
  • People who exercise regularly feel better about their bodies and have improved self-esteem
  • If you don’t already exercise, start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start with 10 minutes a day, 3 times a week and gradually build to 45 minutes a day, 5 times a week to maximize the benefits of exercising
  • Include a blend of cardiovascular exercises (walking, swimming, riding an exercise bike) with weight-bearing exercises (strength training)

When is it ideal to start trying to lose weight?

There is no time like the present. Making small changes gradually in your lifestyle will only improve your health overall and in turn, help improve your fertility.


Infertility treatment Conception

Vicki Meagher

Vicki Meagher

Vicki Meagher has worked with InVia Fertility Specialists since 2006. She is our Third Party Coordinator, so she works with our patients that need an egg donor, sperm donor, gestational surrogate, or any combination of the above. She recruits and screens the egg donors for our in-house donor program as well. She loves working with intended parents and is passionate about third party reproduction and the important role it plays in helping patients achieve their dream of starting or extending their family. She is a member of SEEDS - the Society for Ethics for Egg Donation and Surrogacy.


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