Female obesity and infertility

Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2015 May;29(4):498-506. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2014.10.014. Epub 2014 Nov 7.


Infertility affects one in seven couples, and its rate is on the increase. Ovulatory defects and unexplained causes account for >50% of infertile aetiologies. It is postulated that a significant proportion of these cases are either directly or indirectly related to obesity. The prevalence of overweight and obese men and women has topped 50% in some developed countries. Obesity is on the increase worldwide; in turn, the consequences in terms of the associated morbidity and mortality have also been increasing. Obesity is associated with various reproductive sequelae including anovulation, subfertility and infertility, increased risk of miscarriage and poor neonatal and maternal pregnancy outcomes. Thus, the combination of infertility and obesity poses some very real challenges in terms of both the short- and long-term management of these patients. The mechanism with which obesity impacts female reproductive function is summarised in this review.

Keywords: ART; BMI; PCOS; infertility; miscarriage; obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology
  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / epidemiology
  • Infertility, Female / metabolism*
  • Infertility, Female / therapy
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Treatment Outcome