IVF: Fatties need not apply

If I were a younger woman, my hopes of becoming a mom might be dashed forever.

That’s if I needed fertility treatments.

According to a story in the Globe and Mailtoday, Canadian doctors are considering a policy that would bar obese women from trying to have babies through fertility treatments, also know as IVF.

Poor fat me.

I am technically obese as I have a body mass index of 33, so I’d probably have to do some fast talking to get a fertility doc to accept me into his program.

And yet, I am fitter than most skinny folk.

I spend one hour nearly every day at the gym doing intense cardio and I could probably arm wrestle any doctor onto the bar room floor. I am also in excellent health.

Yet a fertility doctor could take one look at me and throw me out the door.

What hope is there for women larger than me?

Remember a month or so back, the study that suggested that overweight people might actually be healthier than average-sized people? Obviously, the fertility docs didn’t look at that study.

I’m on the side of the B.C. fertility doc, Anthony Cheung, who said: “You’d be denying half the reproductive population from gaining access to fertility treatments. These people already know they have a problem — are you going to make it worse, add feelings of social injustice, low self-worth, depression?”

It might be one thing to deny a woman fertility treatment if her medical markers — high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease — are in the dangerous category, yet women with these conditions have babies every day. They work with their doctors to reduce their risks and most of them have good outcomes.

Yet the fertility docs seem to be making a serious judgment call which borders on discrimination. Listen to their spokesperson, Dr. Carl Laskin.

“If you don’t think a woman should become pregnant for medical reasons (obesity), you have no business helping her become pregnant…But it’s a touchy message to deliver. There are a lot of tears. ”


Let’s face it: doctors are elitists; they make value judgements all the time particularly when they perceive patients have medical problems due to their unhealthy lifestyles. Some doctors won’t even treat unrepentant smokers or drinkers.

Unfortunately, obesity is a more complex issue. Genetics are involved. Hormones are involved. A person’s mental health is involved.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many obese people who are fat by choice.

And like me, many people who have high BMIs are perfectly healthy, so what gives the doctor the right to discriminate against them based on a scale and a tape measure?

When considering this question, I hope the fertility doctors will remember their medical oath.

Do no harm.

I also add, helping a woman become pregnant regardless of what she looks like might actually do some good.


4 Replies to “IVF: Fatties need not apply”

  1. Can I just say what a aid to seek out somebody who actually is aware of what they’re speaking about on the internet. You positively know the right way to carry a problem to gentle and make it important. Extra people have to learn this and understand this side of the story. I cant imagine youre not more well-liked since you positively have the gift.very goodpost, i actually love this web site, carry on it

  2. I read your article twice and one question stands out in my mind. Have you in fact been denied IVF? I am on your side if you get denied treatment (considering that some treatments you actually have to pay for) because from your picture, I wouldn’t consider you fat at all. The issue I have is that even so-called “noral” weight women are counselled not to become pregnant for valid medical reasons. During the labour of my first (and only) child, my wife was told that they discovered a previously unknown issue with her blood pressure and kidneys and that if she were to have another child, there was a big chance that she could die during delivery. My wife is not fat or obese in any way, but there is a valid medical reason for the prognosis.
    Why would any doctor encourage pregnancy when the mother has high blood pressure, or the mydrid of other issues that obesity causes to a human body?
    I don’t want to sound rude, but the fact that someone is obese and has high blood pressure, or smokes and has mouth cancer, or drinks and has liver issues is entirely their fault!
    It’s a valid medial demand that before certain types of surgery, you must lose weight. Why are they not entitled to ask that before you enter into a high risk pregnancy, you lose weight?

    Good luck

    1. No, I am too old and already have three kids.I did state that if there is a valid medical reason, women should not go through with a high risk pregnancy by IVF. It’s the weight issue I have problems with.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s