ASRM ABSTRACTS: Weight may be a factor in IVF success in fresh transfers

This is one of a series of news items from abstracts of studies presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine as complied by Dr. David Meldrum, Scientific Director of Reproductive Partners. We appreciate the enormous amount of work it takes to compile and comment on these abstracts.


Being overweight, especially when one is obese, is a negative factor in IVF success. A poster presentation at ASRM 2012 showed that using frozen transfers may be a way to mitigate the weight factor.

A meta-analysis of 4 studies comprising 3760 women having egg donation showed no
effect of recipient BMI. This finding suggests that obesity may reduce IVF success
only with a stimulated endometrium and that freeze-all may be a worthwhile strategy to explore for obese women using their own eggs.

A second poster presentation reinforced the concept that it is the stimulated endometrium that is responsible for the decreased success rate in obese and overweight women. Early embryo morphokinetics using time-lapse images did not show an adverse effect of obesity. This finding could go along with a concept that reduced outcome in obese patients is an endometrial effect aggravated by the effect of ovarian stimulation, analogous to what occurs in endometriosis.

Of course the best strategy would be to use a combination of a healthy diet and exercise to lose weight prior to starting a cycle. This has the additional advantage of allowing one to start pregnancy at a healthier weight as well.

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