Fatphobia in reproductive health environments – along with the inherent unfairness that fatness really can have a negative impact on fertility – is something many plus-size women have been forced to face.
For decades now, the autonomy of women’s bodies and access to important reproductive healthcare, whether it be fertility treatment (natural or IVF) or even hysterectomies, have been contested issues. When this is combined with fatness, access and rights to those treatments become even more murky.
Evidently, celebrities aren’t exempt from this, as actor Rebel Wilson has spoken out about in a recent interview. Speaking on Sunrise, an Australian morning show, the 41-year-old actor opened up about her decision to freeze her eggs, and how her weight complicated the process.
Hoping to start a family one day soon, Wilson booked an appointment with her doctor to talk through fertility options for her. Her doctor’s response, according to Wilson?
‘Well, you’d have a much better chance if you were healthier.’
Talking about the experience, she said she was offended by this as at the time she thought she was a ‘pretty healthy’ weight.
Her doctor’s response is one plus-size women are all too used to hearing. Whether you’ve booked in to talk about fertility, or just nipped in to discuss a headache, GPs will find a way to bring the conversation back to your weight if you happen to be carrying any. It’s common for local fertility clinics to have a BMI limit on care (meaning you must lose weight before they look into what could be wrong) and as doctors are often incentivised to get target numbers of patients onto weight loss plans, they have plenty of motivation.
Being in a bigger body can impact your fertility and your health during pregnancy, from difficulties conceiving to problems with progesterone levels in the first trimester. But this isn’t necessarily down to reproductive issues – plus-size bodies are more than capable of healthy pregnancies. Instead, it can have a lot to do with how, basically, the world – and its healthcare systems – has not been created with them in mind.
Weight bias and fatphobia unfortunately run deep …….