IVF Treatment for Underweight Patients

86962168-2-xs.jpgInfertility is a struggle that is faced by a great number of men and women who are attempting to conceive. While fertility problems can be extremely difficult to face and often come as a shocking blow, many couples find hope when they realize the numerous fertility treatment options that have proven a success for couples around the world. One of the most successful and popular assisted fertility methods is in vitro fertilization (IVF), a process in which harvested eggs are joined with sperm outside of the uterus and then transferred back into the uterus once successful fertilization has taken place. Because of the advanced techniques and technology that are used with IVF treatment and because it assists in every stage of conception, IVF is a viable option for the majority of Dr. Laurence A. Jacobs’ infertility patients. However, there are some factors that have been shown to influence the success of IVF treatment, one of which is a patient’s body mass index (BMI). Here, Dr. Jacobs discusses with his Chicago patients whether IVF in underweight patients can be a success.


BMI is a number that is computed by taking into account a patient’s weight and height. A patient with a BMI between the ranges of 18.5 and 25 is considered to be within a normal weight range. Any number below 18.5 is considered to be underweight and those patients with a BMI above 25 are considered overweight (or obese if BMI is above 30). There have been some studies conducted to test the effect of BMI on IVF success rate. While studies do show there is a link between BMI and the success of IVF treatment, the effect on treatment is minimal and has been shown to have less of an effect than the patient’s age at the time of treatment. However, the studies do indicate that patients with a BMI between 19 and 30 have a higher chance of conceiving through IVF, meaning that success rates are slightly lower for underweight or obese patients. Patients who are underweight also have been shown to have a slightly higher risk of miscarriage after successfully conceiving through IVF.


While it may sound discouraging to hear that low BMI can effect fertility treatment, these facts do not mean that IVF is not a viable option for underweight patients. IVF has proven a successful treatment for patients of all body types and sizes. However, we do encourage our underweight patients to take some extra precautions to help ensure successful IVF treatment and a healthy pregnancy. If possible, we do advise underweight patients to try to put on a little bit of weight to get as close as possible to a healthy BMI. We also ask that underweight patients be particularly careful about watching their nutrition to ensure that the body is taking in sufficient vitamins and minerals to support itself and a growing fetus. By carefully following doctor instructions, underweight patients can increase their chances of successful IVF treatment.


If you are ready to start a family and have had a difficult time conceiving, it may be time to consider fertility treatment. Dr. Laurence A. Jacobs can assess a couple’s situation to determine if fertility treatment is necessary, and, if so, what treatment option is best for each unique situation. We have helped many patients achieve their dream of parenthood and we’d like to help you as well. Contact us at your earliest convenience  to learn more about our fertility services. We look forward to hearing from you!