Although controversial with some reproductive endocrinologists, there is a growing interest by patients to consider problems with the immune system as a cause for infertility or miscarriages, especially if no other cause has been found. There is no consensus among reproductive endocrinologists and reproductive immunologist, and the debate has been contentious.
An informative article in the journal Human Reproduction titled “The Immunological ‘Wars of the Roses’: Disagreements Amongst Reproductive Immunologists” does a good job of explaining the controversy, and we strongly recommend that you read this if you are considering testing for reproductive immunological problems.
- Autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. The National Woman’s Health Information Center provides a great overview of autoimmune disorders. The American Association of Autoimmune and Related Disorders is another good source of information.
- Thyroid problems
- Insulin resistance and diabetes
- Problems with blood clotting or coagulation, including a family history of stroke
- Unexplained infertility
- Producing less than 6 eggs with a stimulated IVF cycle
- One blighted ovum
- Three unexplained miscarriages or IVF failures before age 35
- Two unexplained miscarriages or IVF failures after age 35
- Endometriosis or any kind of pelvic inflammation
- One living child and repeat miscarriages while attempting to have a second child
- Unexplained uterine bleeding, especially in the first trimester
- Cervical incompetence
- Preterm labor
- Premature rupture of the amniotic sac
- Retarded fetal growth/small for gestational age
Creating a Family has several resources on the immunological connection to infertility. It is helpful to review more than one since they showcase the different sides of the controversy surrounding reproductive immunology:
- How Our Immune System Affects Fertility and Miscarriage (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
- Immunology and Fertility (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
- Unexplained Infertility, Miscarriages, and IVF Failure (1 hr. podcast w/ experts)
- Reproductive Immunology (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
More Creating a Family radio interviews with experts, videos, blogs, fact sheets, and Q and A’s with Experts on reproductive immunology can be found at the icons below.
Sources: Creating a Family radio shows on this topicImage credit: Libertas Academica