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28 November 2023

Autoimmune factors-the key to a successful pregnancy?

Why do some women experience the heartache of miscarriage when they appear to be “sailing” through their pregnancy with ease? The answer to this heartbreaking question may be found in the autoimmune factors at play. In the third blog in our series "Decoding pregnancy risk" series, we shine a light on the shadowy realm of autoimmune factors and their impact on successful pregnancies.

What are immune factors?

The autoimmune factors refer to a group of immune system-related conditions in which the body's immune system mistakenly targets and attacks its own tissues, cells etc. In the context of fertility and pregnancy, autoimmune factors can both pose challenges and offer opportunities for achieving a successful pregnancy in a fertility clinic.

Implantation failure. Some autoimmune conditions will develop antibodies that may interfere with the embryo implantation into the uterine lining. If these factors are not assessed, there is an increased risk of recurrent implantation failure.

Miscarriage risk. Some autoimmune conditions may affect the likelihood of miscarriage due to creating a hostile uterine environment.

Inflammation. Autoimmune conditions are likely to be associated with chronic inflammation which can negatively affect the reproductive health.


How autoimmune factors can increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy

After identifying autoimmune factors as the culprit of fertility issues, the clinic can take appropriate steps to address and correct them.

Diagnosis and management. By offering comprehensive tests and diagnostic tool, the clinics can correctly identify and diagnose the autoimmune factors that can cause fertility issues.

Treatment and medication. According to the patients’ individual needs, a personalised treatment will be created to manage the condition. This may include medication to supress the autoimmune response and reduce inflammation.

Immunosuppression. For patients with autoimmune conditions known to interfere with pregnancy, controlled immunosuppression may be used.

Combined strategies. Fertility clinics can develop personalised treatment strategies that consider both the fertility issues and autoimmune factors, that will foster collaboration between fertility consultants and immunologists.

Monitoring and support. Monitoring of patients with autoimmune factors is crucial throughout pregnancy. Fertility clinics can provide ongoing support and adjust treatment plans as needed to optimize the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Jenny and David's journey to parenthood is a story of resilience and unwavering hope. Their story began with the heartbreak of miscarriages, but they refused to give up on their dream of having a family. After tests and consultations, they found their way to Harley Street Fertility Clinic, where their determination met with the clinic's expertise. The journey involved IVF, genetic testing of embryos, and addressing high natural killer cells. Even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jenny and David persevered, and their positive mindset paid off. Baby Leah's arrival brought joy and smiles, making every moment of their journey worth it. Welcome to the HSFC family, Jenny, David, and baby Leah.

Autoimmune factors can complicate the fertility journey due to their potential to disrupt implantation, increase miscarriage risk, and promote inflammation. With comprehensive testing that will lead to accurate diagnosis and appropriate management, including medication and immune modulation, fertility clinics can help patients with autoimmune conditions overcome these challenges and achieve a successful pregnancy. Personalised treatment plans and consistency of care are pivotal in achieving this goal.