(Image: Michelle Meiklejohn at freedigitalphotos.net)
New research published in the online journal Human Reproduction, has suggested that the reason obese women have problems becoming pregnant through IVF or ICSI, could be due to the reduced quality of their eggs.
For an egg to fertilise correctly and to support embryo development in a healthy way, it needs have a single egg structure known as a ‘spindle’, and attached to this is one set of chromosomes which are organised correctly. The research which was undertaken at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, found that severely obese women suffer greater chance of having eggs that have jumbled chromosomes, and multiple spindles, which can lead to conceiving problems.
276 mature eggs were studied, 105 from obese women and 171 from women of a normal weight. Almost 60% of the eggs from obese women had two spindles, and 30% had disorganised chromosomes. The findings for normal weight women were significantly lower.
The study demonstrated how weight and body mass can significantly alter egg quality and conceiving chances. It interestingly comes shortly after a decision by several IVF clinics in the UK in 2012 to deny treatment to women wanting to undergo IVF, if they had a BMI (Body Mass Index) of over 30. Their decision was based on evidence that being significantly overweight can reduce fertility.