Autoimmunity & Immunological Infertility: Treatment

Underlying Immunological Issues Are Often the Reason Behind Infertility

Immunological issues, and a hyperactive immune system in general, can make becoming pregnant and keeping a pregnancy difficult, but with the right diagnosis and treatment, a successful pregnancy is possible. Treating immune-related infertility requires specialized expertise and knowledge that most REIs simply do not possess, so if you have (or suspect you have) an autoimmune condition or evidence of hyperactive immune system, it’s important to seek out an immunological infertility specialist. At CHR, we have over 30 years of experience treating immune-related infertility, and 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

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 autoimmune conditions, proactive management becomes key, as they 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 system to help our patients get pregnant and keep the pregnancy to term. These proactive treatments for immunological infertility, including the use of intralipids, IVIg and other medications, are designed to help the embryos implant and develop in the uterus and reduce the risk of recurrent miscarriages.

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Infertility Treatment for Autoimmune Patients

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. Indeed, mostly through Dr. Gleicher's work, we, in some women, have 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 autoimmunityautoimmunity or generally hyperactive immune system suffering from similar fertility problems. The good news is that, with aggressive treatment, 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.

For more information on Dr. Gleicher's research see Scientific Publications.

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Last Updated: August 28, 2019

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