Fat women have fatty eggs in their ovaries that are less likely to develop into healthy embryos, research released in Australia shows.
Doctors have long known that overweight women have more difficulty conceiving, but have not known why.
Cadence Minge, a researcher at Adelaide University, found that a protein in cells that surround and nourish the egg is the link between obesity and impaired fertility.
In experiments with mice, she found that administering the anti-diabetic drug rosiglitazone activated the protein and helped the egg to mature into a normal healthy embryo.
She warned that rosiglitazone, which is marketed under the proprietary name Avandia, might have harmful side effects and more research was needed to find another way to activate the protein.
She found the eggs of mice that were fed a high-fat diet that made them insulin-resistant and pre-diabetic didn't develop into healthy embryos.
"They were much slower to divide and grow," Minge said. "And the way that the cells developed was also disturbed."
She said losing weight was the most effective way to restore fertility. Even shedding 5-10 kilograms was enough to trigger ovulation in obese women.
"We hope our findings will encourage women to consider carefully the impact of their lifestyle choices on their own future and that of their children," Minge said.- (Sapa)
Obesity harder on women
Gene that controls ovulation