Two Biggest Misconceptions About Fertility: Age and Weight

What impact do age and weight really have on fertility?

Hi, I’m Dr. Lauren Roth, and today I’m going to talk about the most common myths and misconceptions regarding fertility. I think the most common, widespread misconceptions are regarding age and weight. We’ll address age first.

Everyone knows that it is harder to get pregnant as you age. But because of large stories in the media about older celebrities getting pregnant, I think that people don’t really realize the true effect of aging on their chances for pregnancy.

Women have the most eggs they’re going to have before they are born, half of them are gone by the time they are born, and they’re being used up throughout your life, regardless of what you are doing.

There are a few things that can speed up the use of these eggs, but otherwise there’s little control you have over this.

The main misconception is that in vitro fertilization (IVF) can overcome this problem. It cannot: we cannot make new eggs through IVF. We just collect the ones that you have, and the more eggs you have, the better chance you have of getting pregnant, regardless of what treatment we do.

The second most common misconception is that weight does not have a significant impact on fertility, and in fact the opposite is true. Being a healthy weight improves your chances of getting pregnant. And being either underweight, overweight or obese significantly decreases your chance of pregnancy.

Each unit of BMI (body mass index) over 30 decreases your chance of pregnancy per month by about 12 percent. So that is significant.

When counseling patients about losing weight, we know weight loss is hard. And we know that losing a large amount of weight often times seems overwhelming.

But the great news is that if you can lose even 5-10 percent of your current body weight, not only will that improve your general health, it will also improve your chances for pregnancy.

Please come and talk to one of us about these and other issues. We look forward to meeting you.