There are many areas of medicine where excess fat is labeled the root cause of the problem. But one area where it’s especially damaging, is fertility.
If you’re a fat woman who wants to start a family, immediately you might encounter issues. Even the thought that you would want to conceive at your current weight can be cause for some in your life to judge you. Snide comments from friends, fat shaming from doctors, a lack of support from your family — the ways that this can affect your life and wellbeing are huge.
But the even bigger problem comes when you’re struggling to get pregnant. So often your doctor will turn you away with the advice ‘just lose some weight’, as if it were that simple. As if the fat cells around your middle were the only thing standing between you and your baby.
You are not offered tests, you are not offered medications which may assist you, you are not offered support. You are made to feel like the whole thing is your fault. Like you obviously don’t want to be a mother enough if you can’t even manage to lose some weight.
For this reason, I’ve launched the campaign #fatfertilitymatters. Since launching the campaign three days ago for the start of fertility week in the UK, hundreds of women have reached out to share their stories. There are women who have been made to feel humiliated and degraded by the way they have been treated on their quest to becoming a mother. There are women who have been advised to have bariatric surgery as their only option to motherhood. There are even women who’ve been told to lose weight using extreme calorie restriction.
These women deserve more than that. They deserve to be treated with respect and no judgement. They deserve to have their health taken seriously. So many treatments and support are given a BMI limit. Anyone over the BMI threshold is automatically denied, regardless of their body shape, regardless of their fitness level, regardless of their health, regardless of the health of their reproductive cycle. With the limitations of BMI well known, it’s archaic that it is used in this way to deny women the healthcare that is rightfully theirs.
You can support the #fatfertilitymatters campaign by sharing the illustration (created by Hannah Presdee) on your social media, or share the #fatfertilitymatters post from Fat Positive Fertility’s Instagram.