Fertility treatment factors

In a study of nearly 32,000 infertility procedures performed at US clinics in 2007, researchers found that obese women were less likely than thinner women to ultimately have a baby.

Regardless of weight, black, Hispanic and Asian women had lower success rates than white women. Overall, 45% of white women became pregnant, versus 43% of Hispanic women, 38% of Asian women and 36% of African Americans.

Excess weight?

Fertility treatments were about 20% more likely to fail in obese women. Researchers have recognized this problem for a while now; not long ago, US scientists reported that certain fertility drugs could help bring success rates in obese women up to equal those in normal-weight women.

The findings, reported in the journal Fertility and Sterility, not only bolster evidence that excess weight may hinder the success of infertility treatments. They also back up previous studies showing that women of other races have less success than white women.

Studies have found that obese women, in general, have a harder time becoming pregnant than thinner women - possibly because of how excess fat affects hormone levels or low-level inflammation throughout the body.

As for racial differences in fertility treatment success, one potential explanation could be body-fat distribution. Compared with white women, black women tend to carry more of their excess weight in the upper body, where it is believed to create more inflammation and greater health risks in general than fat around the hips and thighs. Black women are also more likely to have uterine fibroids, which are associated with lower pregnancy and birth rates.

Factors like age and the type of infertility did not explain the racial differences, but the researchers were limited in the information they had on women in the study.

That means more studies are needed to specifically address the race question in fertility treatment success, the researchers say.

What is your advice for successful fertility treatment?
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Gauteng DA leader Solly Msimanga says the party's voters want it to explore conditional coalition talks with the ANC. 
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
It's a step in the right direction. An ANC-DA coalition would be the most stable option for SA
33% - 2853 votes
The DA should focus on working with all opposition parties, including the EFF, to unseat the ANC
15% - 1265 votes
The DA should rather remain in opposition than form a coalition with the ANC or the EFF
52% - 4518 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.