Guest post by Jessica Bowden
In Canada this week, fertility doctors have begun discussions regarding the suitability of obese women to receive fertility treatments. While no consensus has been reached, the topic has generated much controversy, many suggesting that to deny particular women treatment is to infringe on their human rights.
The issue of whether or not women of a certain body mass index (BMI) should be allowed to receive in vitro fertilization will be dealt with in an official debate this weekend in Toronto.
Doctors say that women with a BMI over 35 are at increased health risks during pregnancy, suggesting that women attain and maintain a healthy body weight prior to getting pregnant to reduce potential complications.
(Editors note: BMI is how much fat you have in proportion to your height and weight. A BMI of over 35 would indicate obesity. According to the CDC, a woman who is 5’6″ and weighs 185 lbs. or more is considered to be obese.)
Dr. Al Yuzpe, the moderator of the debate this Saturday commented, “Women who are obese, they have a higher risk for miscarriage, lower conception rate, gestational diabetes, a whole lot of complications. If they require a C-section, it’s more difficult on an obese patient.”
In B.C., where Dr. Yuzpe practices, doctors cannot perform egg retrievals in non-hospital clinics for women whose BMI is over 38.
Dr. Arya Sharma of the University of Alberta, countered suggestions that denying obese women fertility treatments was unjust: “it’s not discrimination if the health risks are real.”
“There’s an increased risk of actually having birth defects in the infant and that’s well studied — the correlation between obesity and fertility,” stated Sharma firmly.
Other medical professionals throughout Europe have made similar suggestions, including the British Fertility Society, as well as the medical associations of Sweden and New Zealand.
What do you think? Should overweight women be allowed to have in vitro fertilization when they’re putting their baby and themselves in significantly higher risk than their lean counterparts?
About the author:
Jessica Bowden studied English and Theatre at the University of Guelph, and graduated with her Masters in 2008. She is a current contributor to multiple publications and resides in Ontario, Canada.
All original content © 2002 - 2013 Imperfect Parent®. Imperfect Parent and Mominatrix are registered trademarks.
The views, opinions and information expressed in articles and blog posts published on imperfectparent.com and all subdomains are those of the authors alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Imperfect Parent or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of any entity of, or affiliated with, Imperfect Parent. The Imperfect Parent is designed for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for medical, health, legal, or financial advice from a professional.
Reproduction of material from any of Imperfect Parent's pages without written permission is strictly prohibited.