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Reprod Biomed Online. 2006 May;12(5):562-8.

Obesity and assisted reproductive technology outcomes.

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Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad, University of Valencia, Spain.


Obesity is a rising health problem in Western societies. It has been related to increased morbidity and mortality rates due to several pathologies. In the field of gynaecology and reproduction, obesity is associated with menstrual disorders, hirsutism, infertility, miscarriage and obstetric complications. It is known to impair human reproduction through different mechanisms such as insulin resistance, hyperandrogenism and elevated leptin levels. Weight management and dietary intervention can reverse this situation and improve reproductive function. Obesity can also impair the outcome of assisted reproductive technologies. The lower probability of a healthy live birth described in obese women seems to be the result of a combination of lower implantation and pregnancy rates, higher preclinical and clinical miscarriage rates and increased complications during pregnancy for both mother and fetus. Studies performed in infertile women undergoing assisted reproduction technologies indicate that the ovary plays a leading, but not exclusive, role in the fertility prognosis of these patients. The endocrine and metabolic environment may affect oocyte quality and, therefore, embryo development, implantation and pregnancy outcome. The endometrium seems to play a subtle role in the more negative reproductive outcome of obese women, according to recent studies based on the ovum donation model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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