Canadian doctors considering restrictions on fertility treatment for overweight women

Fertility doctors in Canada are considering whether there should be restrictions on providing fertility treatments to obese women. Doctors opposed to the proposed guidelines say that denying overweight women access to IVF is discriminatory, while those in favour of the restrictions say that this is a medical issue, not an issue of discrimination. In 2006 in the UK, the British Fertility Society recommended that women with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35 be denied treatment. In New Zealand, there is a BMI cut-off of 32.

Research shows conflicting evidence on the outcomes of fertility treatment for obese women and the maternal and fetal risks of pregnancy. For example, a recent study conducted at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia involving 752 women who underwent IVF, found that obese women did not require higher doses of fertility drugs, and were as likely to get pregnant and have a baby following IVF as women of normal weight. However, another study conducted at the University of Ottawa involving nearly 7,000 women found that the heavier the woman, the greater her risk of pregnancy-related complications, including pre-eclampsia (a potentially life-threatening rise in blood pressure), gestational diabetes, and emergency caesarean sections. There is also evidence of increased risks to babies, including premature birth, stillbirths, and higher risk of spinal abnormalities and other birth defects to mothers with higher body mass index (BMI).

According to Dr. Jason Min, chair of the clinical practice guidelines committee of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, whether that means fertility treatments should be restricted to obese women is: “a very complicated issue and will ultimately require a lot of input from the stakeholders before we formalize that kind of guideline”.

Learn more about obesity and fertility here and here.

Tags:, ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>