Too Fat To Have A Baby

In this blog, I’ve talked about how some people feel women over 35 are too old to have a baby. But suppose you wanted to have a baby mid-life and instead of your age being the factor, your weight was. That’s exactly what happened to one mid-life mom. In the September 5, 2006 issue of The Guardian, Nichola Morris gives a sad account of her ordeal.

When she was 36, she met Pete, a man 18 years older than she was. They fell in love and got married. Pete had two children from two previous failed marriages. Not wanting to have any more children, Pete had already had a vasectomy. But Nichola yearned for a child and eventually her husband decided he wanted one too and had his vasectomy reversed.

But getting pregnant proved difficult. Feeling that her weight was a factor in why she wasn’t getting pregnant, she began dieting, something she had done most of her life. The couple also underwent a series of tests to determine if some other factor was behind her fertility problems. Results showed that Pete had a low sperm count so they turned to a fertility clinic for help.

Nichola’s doctor suggested a top clinic in London. During her initial appointment she was told that IVF might not be an option for here. It was explained to her that the drugs needed in order to produce a good crop of eggs would not be as effective in overweight people. She was also told that there would be health implications for both the overweight mother and her baby. What I found really cruel is this message was delivered in front of other couples who were touring the facility. Nichola was so embarrassed she ran from the room in tears.

In a few days when she was no longer angry, Nichola and her husband decided she would try dieting once again. Realizing that she was not getting any younger she knew time was of the essence. The couple also checked the Internet for clinics with high success rates but found that the more successful clinics discriminated against overweight women.

They finally found a clinic where she was told that although her weight was not ideal–it might make egg collection difficult– they would not deny her the opportunity to have a baby. Not only did she conceive, but like many women who undergo IVF, she had twins!

What a sad time we live in when women who want to conceive are discriminated against because they are too old, too fat, too this or too that. Getting pregnant is a risk at any age or weight. I know plenty of overweight women who had healthy babies. I believe each case should be evaluated on an individual basis taking into account the woman’s past and present health. But to make blanket statements based on BMI is just plain wrong.