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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Stop obese having IVF

13th November 2007

The British Fertility Society (BFS) says women who are obese - with a body mass index (BMI) of over 35 - should not be allowed to have IVF treatment until they have lost weight.


The BFS says according to BMI calculations, which are worked out by dividing weight in kilograms by height in metres squared, a woman should only be eligible once her BMI is below 30 on the scale.

Around one quarter of UK women are thought to be obese, or have a BMI of 30 or above.

"Obesity reduces the chances that a woman will conceive naturally and decreases the possibility that fertility treatment will be successful," said Mr Tony Rutherford, the chair of the BFS's policy committee.

"It also increases the risk of complications during fertility treatment and pregnancy and endangers the health and welfare of both mother and child."

Doctors treating obese women, according to the BFI's guidelines, can face problems including the safe provision of anaesthesia during operations and difficulty seeing ovaries on scans.

The chairman of the National Obesity Forum, Dr Colin Waine, said he was worried about the new guidelines. He said that whilst losing weight might improve treatment outcomes, "to deny treatment outright is discriminatory."

The chief executive of the Infertility Network, Claire Brown, said they endorsed the guidelines, but said that women needed to be given help in order to lose weight.

Ms Brown said that doctors should take a "flexible approach" and consider cases individually.

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