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Study Finds Weight Extremes Influence Fertility

FRIDAY, November 24: LONDON, England (Reuters) --  Women who want to get pregnant should watch their weight because being too thin or too fat could reduce their fertility, Australian doctors said Friday.

New research by scientists at the University of Adelaide shows that women with the best weight for their height and shape have a better chance of getting pregnant than women who are skinny or obese.

"Being underweight or overweight has an adverse effect on reproduction," Jim Wang and his colleagues said in a study published in The British Medical Journal.

They studied more than 3,500 women undergoing fertility treatment in Australia between 1987-1998. All the women were divided into five groups -- underweight, moderate, overweight, obese and very obese.

After taking account of other factors that can influence fertility such as the woman's age, the type of treatment and the number of embryos implanted in the uterus, women with a moderate weight were 60 percent more fertile than very obese women.

The researchers said overweight women suffer more from irregular reproductive cycles and ovulation problems. They suspect body weight could cause infertility by disturbing the lining of the womb.