Autoimmunity & Infertility

What is Autoimmune Infertility?

CHR Explains

The term autoimmune disease refers to a varied group of more than 80 serious, chronic illnesses that involve almost every human organ system. In all of these diseases, the body's immune system becomes misdirected, and attacks the very organs it was designed to protect. About 75% of autoimmune diseases occur in women, most frequently during the childbearing years.

"Affected women need two layers of treatment: a first layer to conceive, and a second to prevent pregnancy loss after conception."

Center For Human Reproduction: Dr. Norbert Gleicher, best fertility specialist in the US Dr. Norbert Gleicher

Autoimmune diseases can affect connective tissue, the tissue that binds together various tissues and organs. It can also affect the nerves, muscles, endocrine system, and gastrointestinal system. There are a large number of autoimmune diseases, with multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis being some of the most common.

Because abnormal immune function can affect fertility as well as miscarriage risk, affected women need two layers of treatment: a first layer to conceive, and a second to prevent pregnancy loss after conception. This is a very important point: it would not make sense to receive fertility treatment to get pregnant, only to experience an emotionally painful and potentially preventable pregnancy loss.

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Last Updated: April 10, 2017

Additional Resources

Good News for Infertile Women with Autoimmunity Immuno-suppressive biologics may be on the horizon Steady readers of the VOICE, of course, know by now that, when assessing


“Treating Poor Prognosis Patients”: Virtual University of R... Dr. Gleicher contributed a course to the Virtual University of Reproductive Medicine, on fertility treatment strategies for poor-prognosis p...

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1/3 of women who have been told they need egg donation actually wind up conceiving at the CHR with their own eggs.