Maybe you saw the report last week about a fertility clinic in Ottawa, Canada, that decided a while back that it would no longer treat obese women. In actuality, the Ottawa Fertility Centre said that they’ve had a policy in place for more than six years to deny women with a body mass index (BMI) of over 35 treatment with in vitro fertilization (IVF), reported CTV.ca. Dr. Arthur Leader, a co-founder of the clinic, told the site that he and the other physicians at the center agreed that the risks of treatment and pregnancy to mother and child weren’t justifiable, noting, for example, that the egg retrieval process is difficult in obese women and that sedation can be riskier. In addition, excess weight brings with it an increased risk for miscarriage and birth defects, says the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
The physicians at the Ottawa Fertility Centre aren’t alone in deciding not to take on obese women as patients for IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies. But it’s still a fraught topic, not least because losing a lot of weight in a healthful way can take a long time, and many women feel they don’t have time to lose when it comes to getting pregnant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and 30 and above is considered obese. A woman who is 5’4” and weighs 204 pounds would have a BMI of 35. You can calculate your BMI using the CDC’s tool here.
What do you think: Are obese women dealing with infertility being discriminated against – or is denying them treatment a good idea given the increased risks to a woman and her child?