Obesity and reproductive function: A review of the evidence

Violet E. Klenov, Emily S. Jungheim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Over the last decade, the evidence linking obesity to impaired reproductive function has grown. In this article, we review this evidence and discuss the underlying pathophysiology. Recent findings Obese women are less likely than normal-weight women to achieve pregnancy. Female obesity adversely affects reproductive function through alterations in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, oocyte quality, and endometrial receptivity. It is unclear which mechanism contributes the most to subfecundity, and it is likely a cumulative process. Emerging data highlight the contribution of male obesity to impaired reproductive function and that couple obesity has synergistic adverse effects. Once pregnant, obese women are at higher risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes. Weight loss improves reproductive potential in obese patients. As obese women surpass 35 years of age, age may be more important than body mass index in determining reproductive potential. Summary Obstetrician gynecologists need to be aware of the negative impact of obesity on reproductive function so that they appropriately counsel their patients. Further work is needed to clarify the underlying pathophysiology responsible for adverse effects of obesity on reproduction so that novel treatment approaches may be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-460
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


  • Fertility
  • Obesity
  • Reproduction


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