It has previously been suggested that obesityExcess accumulation of fat in the body. might affect ovulationWhen one or more eggs are released from the ovary. and obese women who are seeking to get pregnant are often advised to lose weight.
A recent study reported in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism tested this theory by assessing a number of women undergoing gastric bypassA surgical procedure to bypass the stomach, so that fewer calories are absorbed by the body. surgery. A large amount of weight is lost quickly following this procedure and patients can be assessed on their reproductive function before and after surgery.
The research was conducted on 29 morbidly obese women, all of reproductive age, over a period of two years. Daily urine samples were collected over a menstrual cycleThe monthly sequence by which a woman’s body prepares for potential fertilisation of an egg released from the ovaries, involving thickening of the uterus lining and then shedding of the lining when pregnancy does not occur. before surgery and then 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after. This was to determine ovulation frequencyApplied to urination, needing to urinate more often than normal, for whatever reason. and quality.
The findings showed no significant change in the quality of ovulation, suggesting that losing weight did not improve reproductive function. However, levels of sexual desire and arousal were also assessed before and after the surgery using the Female Sexual Function Index Questionnaire and it was found that these improved. Researchers suggest this increases sexual activity therefore increasing the chances of getting pregnant.
Following the study Dr Legro said, ‘In terms of ovulation, there doesn't appear to be a window after surgery where fertility is improved. The door appears to be open at all times. Other factors may be involved with infertility in obese women, such as diminished sexual desire and thus less intercourse’.