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.