British Fertility Society response to ESHRE press release “Overweight women undertaking ART twice as likely to miscarry as their slimmer counterparts”

Mr Tony Rutherford, Chairman of the British Fertility Society said:

“We have known for a long time that obesity has a negative effect on female reproductive health, decreasing the chances of natural conception, reducing the likelihood that fertility treatment will be successful and increasing the risk of complications during pregnancy.  This study provides further evidence that women who have undergone assisted reproductive therapies are significantly more likely to miscarry before 20 weeks gestation compared to women of normal weight. The British Fertility Society recommends that all women should be advised to achieve a weight appropriate to their height before embarking on infertility treatment to maximum their chances of a resulting healthy pregnancy and birth.  We would like to see further resources put towards supporting women to lose weight to improve their chances of conceiving and maintaining a healthy pregnancy.”

Notes for editors:

  • 1. Obesity is a common health problem among women of reproductive age, with 56% of women in the UK being either overweight or obese.  According to current World Health Organisation guidelines, normal BMI is defined as 19-24.9 kg/m2, overweight BMI as 25.0-29.9kg/m2, moderate obesity BMI as 30.0-34.9kg/m2, severe obesity BMI as 35.0-39.9kg/m2 and very severe obesity BMI as >40kg/m2.
  • 2. More information on the British Fertility Society guidelines on obesity and female reproductive health can be found at the following link:

To obtain a full copy of the guidelines please contact the British Fertility Society press office