Doctors in Canada are starting to make a stand. They’re considering implementing a new policy to withhold IVF (iv-vitro fertilization) to obese women. They have all agreed that yes it is discriminatory and they can “respect that people have the right to make their own choices, but we have a duty of care to do no harm”, said Dr. Leader.
The co-founder of the Ottawa Fertility Centre says the risks and potential medical complications are far too high for obese women. Obese women are more likely to miscarry, suffer from pre-eclampsia, premature delivery and underweight babies.
It has also been suggested that overweight women should consume more folic acid as their babies are at higher risk of brain and heart defects.
One theory why carrying extra weight increases the risk of miscarriage is it may affect the lining of the womb and the implantation of the egg. One risk is the egg retrieval process; it is difficult because it’s harder to find the ovaries in obese women. Having them under sedation poses enough risk, keeping them under for longer then necessary increases that risk.
Dr. Leader explains that the BMI level is well above the clinical definition of obese, which is a BMI of 30. He explains that a 5 foot 6 woman weighing 220 lbs would have a BMI over 35. He expresses that he understands their impatience; the longer they wait the risk of infertility rises with a woman’s age. But With all the combined risks involved just can’t “justify subjecting these women to IVF.” His primary concern is the woman and her children.
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