The Center for Fertility and Gynecology in Los Angeles, CA is dedicated to helping patients with all types of fertility issues become parents. From advanced treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and ICSI, to more holistic approaches including diet and lifestyle modification, our staff can enthusiastically guide you towards pregnancy. One area we in which we excel is treating patients who have been turned away from or failed at other centers. We are happy take “out of the box” approaches, as long as they are safe, to help our patients conceive. This approach permeates each step of the treatment process. One example of this is our view of obesity and reproduction.
Since the beginning of human history, people have sought after and honored fertility and reproduction. From artifacts left behind by long lost societies such as Neolithic clay statuettes and Egyptian paintings, it is evident that ancient humans have always placed a premium on fertility. Interestingly, the idealized version of fertility to our forbearers was likely quite different than our modern view.
Many ancient examples of fertility goddesses, such as the Venus of Dolní Vestonice (a 25,000 year old ceramic figure found in Eastern Europe)
or the Venus of Willendorf (a 20,000 year old clay figure found on the banks of the Danube river in Southern Austria)
depict women who appear obese by today’s standards. Based on the broad hips, pendulous breasts and large thighs, these ancient fertility goddesses would likely be told to start weight watchers in today’s world.
In ancient times however, the extra fat was an adaptive and useful characteristic. We know that normal reproductive function is strongly dependent upon total body weight and fat content. This is one of the mechanisms that lead to cessation of ovulation during starvation or significant weight loss. Body weight is also primarily important in the initiation of puberty and a girls’ first period. It is conceivable that in ancient societies where food was not a reliable resource, those women with more fat would continue to ovulate and become pregnant even during times of food scarcity. If women with more fat were becoming pregnant while their skinnier contemporaries were not, it is easy to see how a statuette with more fat would represent an idealized version of fertility.
Thus, for those women who are struggling with their weight and trying to conceive, know that your body is not betraying you! Although in today’s world your body composition may present a challenge, there is a fertility goddess inside just waiting to bust out!
If you have questions about fertility, obesity or fertility goddesses feel free to contact us, we are happy to speak with you.