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Hum Reprod. 1999 Mar;14(3):712-5.

Extremes of body mass do not adversely affect the outcome of superovulation and in-vitro fertilization.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Solihull Hospital, West Midlands, UK.


The effect of extremes of body mass on ovulation is well recognized by clinicians. However, the effect of obesity and extreme underweight on the outcome of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles has received relatively little attention. In a retrospective nested case-control study we examined the effect of the extremes of body mass index (BMI) on IVF-embryo transfer outcome at a university-based IVF unit. A total of 333 patients were included in the study; 76 obese patients (BMI > 27.9) with 152 controls, and 35 underweight patients (BMI < 19) with 70 controls. The patients were matched with their controls in age +/- 1 year, day 3 follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) concentration, daily dose of gonadotrophin (+/- 37.25 IU), gonadotrophin preparation and the year of treatment. The following parameters were compared between the study and control groups: duration of administration and dose of gonadotrophin, number of follicles aspirated, number of eggs, fertilization rate, number of embryos, serum oestradiol concentration on human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) day (peak oestradiol), clinical pregnancy rate, implantation rate, miscarriage rate, and incidence of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Apart from a significantly lower peak oestradiol concentration (P = 0.009) in the obese patients, they and the underweight patients were not significantly different from their normal controls. The extremes of body mass index do not adversely affect the outcome of IVF-embryo transfer treatment. However, the obese patients had lower peak oestradiol concentrations than their normal controls despite receiving similar gonadotrophin doses.

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