Medically reviewed by Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS - Written by CHR Staff - Updated on Jan 15, 2020
Don’t Give Up! Pregnancy Is Possible, Even With Immunological Issues
Immunological disorders and a hyperactive immune system in general can make becoming pregnant and carrying a pregnancy to term difficult. But with a timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment, a successful pregnancy is possible.
Treating immune-related infertility requires specialized expertise and knowledge that most REIs simply do not possess. If you have - or even suspect you have - an autoimmune condition or hyperactive immune system, it’s important to seek out an immunological infertility specialist.
CHR Has Specialized in Immune-Related Infertility for Over 30 Years
At CHR, we have over 30 years of experience treating immunological infertility, and our immunological infertility experts have a deep understanding of what is involved and how to treat it.
Many patients come to us unaware that they even had a subclinical autoimmune condition or immunological problems. Recurrent miscarriages, implantation failures, and low ovarian reserve are all possible signs of an underlying immunological issue. Recognizing the problem and taking proactive steps to manage it are crucial steps.
Treating Immune-Related Infertility: Our Approach
Since autoimmune diseases are often chronic, they may require lifelong care and monitoring, even when the person may look and feel well. Currently, few autoimmune diseases can be cured or made to disappear with treatment. However, many people with these diseases live relatively normal lives when they receive proper medical care.
When it comes to pregnancies with immunological disorders, proactive management becomes key, as autoimmune issues can make both getting pregnant and keeping the pregnancy a challenge.
At CHR, our physicians apply multiple layers of treatments specific to holistically managing immune abnormalities and hyperactive immune systems, with the goal of helping our patients get pregnant and carry their pregnancies to term. These proactive treatment approaches for immunological infertility, which include the use of intralipids, IVIg, and other medications, are designed to help the embryos implant and develop in the uterus as well as reduce the risk of recurrent miscarriages.
What Is A Hyperactive Immune System?
A “hyperactive immune system” means that a person’s immune system reacts to things in their environment that are normally harmless and would not merit an immune response, such as pollen, pet dander, mold, or certain foods. People with an overactive immune system may suffer from asthma, allergies, and/or eczema. We also suspect that women with certain types of infertility are more likely to have a hyperactive immune system, as conception and pregnancy are both immunologically controlled processes.
If you think you may have a hyperactive immune system and you’re having difficulty getting pregnant, it’s important to see an infertility specialist with expertise in immune-related infertility. Contact CHR today to learn more.
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An Autoimmune Disorder or Hyperactive Immune System Is Often the Reason Behind Infertility
As the causes of autoimmune diseases are not well understood, it is not surprising that we still lack specific treatments for the various conditions. What we can treat are usually selected symptoms of diseases, which, at times, may include infertility. Mostly through Dr. Gleicher's work, we have - in some women - come to see infertility as a fairly typical early symptom of abnormal female immune function.
Because of our special expertise in this area, CHR sees a large number of women with clinically overt autoimmune diseases who suffer from infertility and/or pregnancy losses. Equally importantly, we have seen many women with subclinical autoimmunity or a generally hyperactive immune system suffering from similar fertility problems.
The good news is that, with aggressive and proactive treatments (like the ones outlined here), most immunological infertility patients can conceive and deliver healthy children.
Autoimmunity and Reproduction Research
In a preliminary, though quite provocative, study published in 2006 in the Journal of Autoimmunity, Dr. Gleicher for the first time suggested that the risk to develop autoimmune disease may be influenced by the way children are being delivered: Cesarean section delivery may reduce the risk to offspring, while at the same time increasing the maternal risk to flare her condition.
Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS
Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.