The British Fertility Society has issued new guidelines for the treatment of women with fertility problems that help doctors address the impact of obesity.
"Obesity reduces the chances that a woman will conceive naturally and decreases the possibility that fertility treatment will be successful," said Tony Rutherford, Chair of the BFS's Policy and Practice Committee.
The new guidelines recommend that clinicians inform their patients about the negative effects of extra weight on the chances of conceiving naturally. They also suggest that clinicians defer the provision of fertility treatment to women whose body mass index (BMI) is greater than 35 kg/m2.
Women younger than 37 years should be encouraged to reduce their BMI to less than 30 kg/m2 to maximize the effectiveness of fertility treatment and to reduce the associated risks associated with fertility treatment, the guidelines state.
They add that women should be assisted in this, with the provision of psychologic support, dietary advice, exercise classes and, where appropriate, weight-reducing agents or bariatric surgery.
"The BFS has produced these new guidelines to help doctors provide safer and more effective fertility treatment for women," said Rutherford.
"We want to work with our patients to improve their chances of becoming pregnant with minimum risk to their health and that of their child."