You are browsing content specific to your location, some treatments may not be available:

Obesity and Infertility


Obesity refers to a condition of being overweight with excessive fat accumulation in the body. It is a serious medical condition and increases risk of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and many others.

What are the symptoms of obesity?

Obesity may not cause any symptoms initially but over a period as complications start developing, the symptoms start appearing depending on the complications e.g., dry mouth and feeling weak with Diabetes mellitus. A Body Mass Index at or over 25 is overweight and of 30 or higher is obese.

What are the causes of obesity?

Obesity is a complex health condition that involves combination of causes, and they are:

  • Consuming excess calories and overeating: Excess eating, especially a fat-rich diet, often results in weight gain.
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle: Lack of physical activity contributes to obesity. Desk jobs, no or little physical activity, availability of modern amenities like washing machines, dishwashers, etc. have made people less active.
  • Lack of sleep: Less sleep increases the risk of obesity.
  • Genetics: Genes play an important role in development of obesity. Specific genetic traits inherited from parents may be responsible for obesity and in these cases, it becomes more difficult to lose weight.
  • Medications: Various medications, including antidepressants, diabetes medications, etc., may cause obesity.

How does obesity affect pregnancy?

Excess weight and body fat makes it difficult to get pregnant. Obesity often results in irregular menstrual cycles and infrequent ovulation. Obese women with regular menstrual cycles can also experience lower pregnancy rates.Obesity can lead to excessive oestrogen activity which can make lining of the womb (endometrium) unsuitable for pregnancy to settle. Hence, it is essential to consult with a fertility specialist to identify disorders associated with obesity that can affect chances of pregnancy.

How does obesity affect fertility in men?

Obesity plays a role in hormonal changes crucial for reproduction in men. Obese men often report low sperm counts and low sperm motility than normal-weight men.

What can be done to increase fertility in obese men and women?

Obesity can reduce a couple’s chances of getting pregnant as described above. Obesity can also increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. In addition to seeking advice from a fertility specialist, a couple should also seek pre-pregnancy counseling regarding reducing risks to pregnancy and childbirth.

Regular exercise with a healthy diet is an effective way for weight loss. These help to restore ovulation, increase chance of conceiving and lowers the rate of miscarriage in obese infertile women. Besides, bariatric surgery may be rarely advised for obese women having a BMI >40. After surgery, significant improvement can be expected in obesity-related problems , including irregular periods and infertility.

A multidisciplinary approach to weight management can help to handle this condition.Initial assessment of infertility and body mass index, importance of lifestyle change, education about proper diet, exercise and behavior modification are part of this strategy. A more holistic approach to obesity and reproductive health may help increase the chance of conception.

The Takeaway

A BMI over 25 is defined as overweight and over 30 is defined as obesity. Poor dietary habits and lack of exercise can easily lead to obesity. Obese women and men are at high risk of infertility as well as other serious health conditions. Change in lifestyle, improved diet and exercise can lead to better reproductive health and chances of conceiving.

At ART fertility clinics our experienced doctors will guide you to better health and will offer you most suitable and safe fertility treatments to improve your chances of having a healthy baby.

Types of treatment related to this article

IVF means in vitro fertilization. In vitro means in the laboratory ( outside the body) and fertiliza…
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a technique developed to overcome male infertility attrib…
In vitro maturation (IVM) refers to the process when a woman's eggs are collected and matured outsid…
Microscopic testicular sperm extraction or Micro-TESE refers to a process that directly takes sperm …

We are here to help


How high BMI/Obesity impacts your fertility?


  1. Q) I am an active smoker, will I affect my pregnancy chances.?

    Yes, smoking affects the chances of getting pregnant. It can reduce fertilization rates even during fertility treatments, resulting in miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.

  2. Q) Does our lifestyle affect fertility?

    Yes, lifestyle choices can significantly impact fertility. For example, smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug abuse can lower fertility potential in both men and women. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, and poor sleep habits can also negatively affect reproductive health.

  3. Q) what does the success of an IVF depend upon?

    The success of an IVF treatment depends on various factors, including the age of the patient undergoing treatment, the cause of infertility, the quality and quantity of eggs and sperm produced, and the number of embryos transferred. In addition, lifestyle-related factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and weight (BMI can also impact the success rate of the treatment.

  4. Q. How can I prepare for an IVF cycle, both physically and emotionally?

    Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, and taking any prescribed medications as directed is essential. The most effective ways to achieve this include exercising regularly, maintaining a nutritious diet, and taking prenatal vitamins. In addition, it is important to avoid excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. Consulting with an experienced IVF specialist can prepare you for the treatment.

  5. Q. What are some common lifestyle changes patients can make to improve their chances of success with IVF?

    Patients can improve their chances of success with IVF by maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, and managing stress. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also improve fertility.

  6. Q. What lifestyle factors can impact sperm count, such as diet or drinking alcohol?

    Lifestyle factors such as poor diet, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, and exposure to environmental toxins, working in scorching environments can negatively impact sperm count and quality.