Open Accessibility Menu

Planning a Family? Consider Bariatric Surgery

Planning a Family? Consider Bariatric Surgery

Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight benefits many aspects of your life – including having a baby.

“Being overweight or obese can prompt the body to overproduce estrogen, preventing women from ovulating or having periods,” said Katie Hanisee, MD, FACS, FASMBS, general and bariatric surgeon at South Georgia Surgical Associates. “It can also reduce the effectiveness of some fertility treatments.”

For men, excess weight may be associated with a reduced sperm count or loss of sperm production.

Worth the Weight Loss

If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher, of a BMI of 35 or higher plus an obesity-related health condition, and you’ve tried nonsurgical weight loss methods without success, bariatric surgery may be right for you. Researchers have found links between bariatric surgery and a variety of reproductive health benefits, including:

  • Higher levels of sex hormone binding globulin – a protein that regulates the delivery of sex hormones to body tissues – and lower levels of testosterone in women
  • Higher sperm count and testosterone levels in men
  • Improvements in polycystic ovary syndrome, which can cause obesity and infertility in women
  • More consistent menstrual cycle

“Obesity can stand in the way of many goals, including having a baby,” Dr. Hanisee said. “Bariatric surgery is one of several useful tools that can help you lose weight so you can pursue your goals for family.”

Operation Safer Pregnancy

Bariatric surgery can do more than improve reproductive health. It can also treat certain health conditions that may pose risks during pregnancy.

If not managed, diabetes can lead to pregnancy complications and birth defects. Many people with diabetes who have bariatric surgery experience lower blood sugar levels – and 78% of patients experience such a dramatic improvement that diabetes medications are no longer necessary.

Another condition that may affect pregnancy is high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of preeclampsia, stroke and preterm delivery. Bariatric surgery can reduce or eliminate high blood pressure in many patients with obesity.

The Archbold Bariatric and Weight Management Program offers two types of bariatric surgery, as well as nonsurgical weight loss treatment. To learn more, visit