In light of today’s news, Dr Sally Norton, NHS weight loss consultant and surgeon, emphasises the importance of weight-loss as a sensible, cost-free fertility treatment add-on. For both men and women losing weight, if obese, has a proven track record for fertility success.
“ One of the many reasons that women, and occasionally men, come to see me for weight loss advice is because they want to start a family, but are struggling. Did you know that obesity is a major cause of difficulty getting pregnant – and can increase the risk of miscarriage or problems during pregnancy and childbirth? In fact, there is a significantly greater risk of diabetes during pregnancy if you are overweight – and this can affect the future health of your child as well as you.
“Research evidence shows that being overweight can contribute to period problems, hormonal imbalances, lack of ovulation, resistance to fertility treatment and therefore fertility problems particularly in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
“In women with PCOS who have infertility due to problems with ovulation, even a 10% loss in weight can result in return to normal ovulation. As such, losing weight before trying to conceive will improve the likelihood of ovulation, improve fertility and reduce the risk of problems in pregnancy and improve the chance of having a healthy baby.
“But it’s not all about women.
“In men, being obese can cause the following problems: reduced semen volume, a reduced sperm count and increased sperm DNA damage. Losing weight will improve these parameters.
“So, if you are thinking of starting a family, it is a great incentive to lose weight. But you have to make sure you do it in a way that is good for you – not by fad dieting which will starve your body of essential nutrients just at the time when you and your unborn child need them most. In fact, some studies suggest that a mother’s diet, even BEFORE she actually gets pregnant, can affect the health of her child. So instead of crash dieting, treat your body with the care and respect it deserves – after all, you’ll be relying on your body to create a healthy new life within it. Fill it with the most nutritious food you can find, keep active to ensure you are as fit as you can be – and not only will you be rewarded with a slimmer, healthier body but you will find it easier to get pregnant too.”