Impact of obesity on female fertility and fertility treatment

Womens Health (Lond). 2008 Mar;4(2):183-94. doi: 10.2217/17455057.4.2.183.


Obesity and overweight are common conditions that have consequences not only on general health but also to a great extent on reproductive health. There is a high prevalence of obese women in the infertile population and numerous studies have highlighted the link between obesity and infertility. Obesity contributes to anovulation and menstrual irregularities, reduced conception rate and a reduced response to fertility treatment. It also increases miscarriage and contributes to maternal and perinatal complication. Reduction of obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, is associated with improvements in reproductive functions; hence, treatment of obesity itself should be the initial aim in obese infertile women before embarking on ovulation-induction drugs or assisted reproductive techniques. While various strategies for weight reduction, including diet, exercise, pharmacological and surgical intervention exist, lifestyle modification continues to be of paramount importance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Fertility Agents, Female / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / drug therapy
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Weight Loss


  • Fertility Agents, Female