Immunology and Infertility

Can your immune system affect your ability to get pregnant or stay pregnant? What is the immunological connection to infertility or miscarriage? Host Dawn Davenport interviewed Dr. William Kutteh, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist with a Ph.D. in molecular biology and immunology. He serves as Director of Fertility Associates of Memphis and Laboratory Director for Memphis Fertility Laboratory.

Hit the Highlights
  • Is the immune system connection to infertility real?
  • Why are so many REs resistant to the idea of immunologic implantation dysfunction?
  • Is there scientific evidence to support an immunological connection to infertility?
  • Does our immune system effect implantation and miscarriage?
  • What are Natural Killer Cells, and do they increase your chance for recurrent pregnancy loss (miscarriage)?
  • What are the best tests for determining if your infertility is the result of a faulty or weakened immune system?
  • I have heard of the “Chicago tests” being referred to for immune testing. What are these tests? Are there proven treatments to determine if our immune system is affecting our ability to get pregnant or stay pregnant?
  • What is known about their safety and efficacy of these fertility treatments?
  • Are treatments more successful for certain types of patients or immune system issues?
  • Will high dose steroids improve your odds of getting pregnant and avoiding a miscarriage?
  • Recently there have been some articles in the mainstream media suggesting a connection between immune system disorders in a mother, and autism. What is known about this, and is a woman whose immune system is known to be more active than average putting her future child at greater risk for autism if she persists with treatment?
  • Given that there seems to be a wide variety of opinions among REs on validity of testing and treating for immune issues affecting fertility and the success of infertility treatment, and also that many are not very familiar with the tests or treatments, how does a patient connect with a doctor who has genuine experience in this sub-set of infertility?
  • How do patients know whether an additional test or treatment is being recommended because it is genuinely needed or whether the aim is to sell another round of IVF?
  • Is a recurring candida infection (yeast infection) indicative of a faulty immune system?
  • What is the best way to treat a systemic candida overgrowth?