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New Studies Released at ASRM Meeting


The 66th annual meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) is underway in Denver, Colorado. Earlier today, a number of studies were released at the meeting.

Obesity and Fertility in Women

Recent studies illustrate the impact of obesity on fertility. Researchers looked at more than 158,000 cycles in the SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology) database that identified women’s height and weight. Increased BMI correlated with increasing rates of canceled cycles. According to the ASRM, “The odds of the patient failing to become pregnant, or that pregnancy not being successfully carried to term, also rose significantly with increasing obesity.”

A second study looked at the quality of eggs and embryos from women with different BMIs. Researchers from Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that women with high and low BMIs were more likely to produce immature eggs during an ART cycle. “This led to lower odds of successful embryo transfer per retrieval and a lower live birth rate,” the ASRM explains.

Fats and Fertility in Men

According to Harvard researchers, the more fat men consume — both saturated and monounsaturated fats — the lower their sperm concentration. Polyunsaturated fat consumption, however, correlated to better sperm motility and morphology.

The study of 91 men attending the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center illustrated the importance of healthy weight and diet for men who wish to father children.

An Egg's Fate

What is the fate of eggs retrieved during IVF? Researchers from Shady Grove Fertility Center in Maryland studied more than 14,000 IVF cycles to find out. In a review of these cycles, in which 192,991 eggs were retrieved, 110,939 fertilized but only 44,282 developed into viable embryos. From that data, they projected that if all frozen embryos will be used (that is optimistic and unlikely), only 7.5 percent of all the embryos will result in live births.

“It should surprise no one that the vast majority of sperm and eggs never get together to even begin the fertilization process.  But, it is very important to understand that even once joined together for fertilization, an overwhelming majority of fertilized eggs do not become viable embryos, and only a small percentage of embryos thought to be viable produce a child. While this data come the IVF lab, natural conception is also very inefficient,” said Robert W. Rebar, MD, Executive Director of the ASRM.