Waist circumference in relation to outcomes of infertility treatment with assisted reproductive technologies

Published:February 11, 2019DOI:


      Many studies have documented a lower likelihood of live birth with increasing body mass index among women undergoing assisted reproductive technology, but few have examined the association with waist circumference, an anthropometric measure that allows assessment of central adiposity.


      To examine the relation between baseline waist circumference and infertility treatment outcomes among women undergoing treatment with assisted reproductive technology.

      Materials and Methods

      We followed up 264 women who underwent 445 assisted reproductive technology cycles for infertility treatment at the Massachusetts General Hospital between 2010 and 2017. Waist circumference was assessed at enrollment. We used cluster-weighted generalized estimating equation models to estimate the probability of live birth by tertiles of waist circumference (<77, 77–86, >86 cm), while accounting for multiple treatment cycles per woman and adjusting for age, race, smoking, infertility diagnosis, day 3 follicle-stimulating hormone, body mass index, and height.


      Mean (standard deviation) waist circumference and body mass index were 83.6 (12.6) cm and 24.1 (4.3) kg/m2, respectively. Waist circumference and body mass index were positively correlated (r = 0.69, P < .0001). Waist circumference was inversely related to the probability of live birth after adjusting for BMI and other confounders. The multivariable adjusted probability of live birth (95% confidence interval) for women in increasing tertiles of waist circumference were 53% (42–65%), 42% (32–53%), and 38% (28–50%) (P, trend = .04). When women were classified in joint categories of body mass index and waist circumference, women with a body mass index ≥25 kg/m2 and a waist circumference ≥77 cm had the lowest live birth rate (38% [27–50%]), whereas women with a body mass index between 18.5 and 25 kg/m2 and a waist circumference <77 cm had the highest (54% [42–66%]). The results were similar using different waist circumference cut-off values.


      Waist circumference was inversely related to the probability of live birth among women undergoing assisted reproductive technology independently of body mass index.

      Key words

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