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Fertility and Autoimmune Disorders

June 18, 2024

If you're facing trouble getting pregnant naturally, then you might be suffering from fertility issues. But other health disorders also impact your fertility. Autoimmune disorder is closely associated with fertility disorders as it decreases the chance of conceiving. Each body is different, and it is possible to conceive naturally even when you suffer from autoimmune diseases. In certain cases, it can greatly affect your fertility and pregnancy. Continue reading for a clear idea of how autoimmune disorder is closely associated with fertility.

Book an online appointment with Dr. Ramya G Gowda for Fertility related issues.

What is Autoimmune Disorder?

An autoimmune disorder is a medical condition where your immunity becomes more overactive, attacking your body tissues. Autoimmune disorders affect the different organs of your body, resulting in autoimmune diseases. In certain conditions, autoimmune disorders can trouble your health badly, resulting in various chronic health issues. It is said that women are more affected by autoimmune disorders than men.

Check Out Common Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune disorders likely affect the joints, thyroid glands, nerves and ovaries, resulting in various chronic health issues. Here is a list of common autoimmune diseases that impact health.

  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lupus
  • Celiac Disease
  • Grave's Disease
  • Decreased Ovarian Reserve
  • Pernicious Anemia
  • Anti-sperm Antibodies
  • Thyroid

How Do Autoimmune Diseases Affect Your Fertility and Pregnancy?

An active autoimmune disease can affect your fertility and decrease the chance of getting pregnant naturally. It also increases the risk of your pregnancy, resulting in various complications during pregnancy. The common risks of autoimmune disorders related to pregnancy and fertility are:

  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Embryo implantation failure
  • Repeated miscarriage
  • Endometriosis

The following are the autoimmune diseases that impact your fertility and pregnancy.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus:

This autoimmune disease is more prevalent in women. This chronic inflammatory disease increases pregnancy risk of stillbirth, pre-eclampsia, intrauterine growth retardation and miscarriage. The risk of cardiac abnormalities in the newborn is also high due to this autoimmune condition. The treatment for this condition may result in low ovarian reserve.

Multiple Sclerosis: This autoimmune condition causes neurological disorders in women. The risk of female infertility is high when you have multiple sclerosis. The symptoms of this disease are mobility loss, muscle weakness and sensory disturbances. The common causes of this condition are environmental factors, genetic conditions, viral infection, smoking and low vitamin D levels. There is a strong relation between the severity of this autoimmune disease and egg quality. If left untreated, multiple sclerosis results in low ovarian reserve.

Antiphospholipid Syndrome: Women with this autoimmune disorder may experience pregnancy complications and repeated miscarriages. The presence of antiphospholipid antibodies increases the chance of preterm birth and pre-eclampsia.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: This autoimmune disease affects both men and women. Impaired fertility and low testosterone concentrations are the common effects of this autoimmune condition. It also increases pregnancy risk in women.

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: This affects thyroid function. This disease is common in women, where certain antibodies decrease thyroid function, resulting in improper ovarian function. It increases various pregnancy risks, including preterm birth, changes in the nervous system development of the fetus, repeated miscarriage, etc. Using thyroid hormone medications can help treat this condition and improve reproductive outcomes.

Type-1 Diabetes Mellitus: This autoimmune disease is common in men and women. This disorder kills the cells responsible for insulin production in the pancreas, resulting in higher blood sugar levels. It greatly affects the semen quality of men and causes alterations in ovulation, resulting in both male and female infertility. The pregnancy complications and risks are high for women with Type-1 diabetes.

The above immune problems in infertility increase the risk of pregnancy and result in complications during pregnancy.

Also Read: Viral Hepatitis in Pregnancy

Improving the Chance of Getting Pregnant with Autoimmune Disorder

Getting pregnant with an autoimmune disease is possible with recent advances in the healthcare industry. Pregnancy with an autoimmune disorder is challenging, but it is possible. The following can help to increase the chance of conception when you suffer from an autoimmune disease:

  • Exercise Helps: Exercise relaxes your joints and muscles, relieving stiffness and fatigue.
  • Quit Smoking and Drinking: Quitting these habits when trying to get pregnant can increase the chance of conception.
  • Limit Caffeine Intake: Women with high-risk pregnancies must avoid coffee and tea. It is said that caffeine hinders the blow flow to the placenta.
  • Take Your Supplements: Prenatal vitamins and folic acid tablets can help avoid congenital disabilities.
  • Eat A Healthy Diet: A balanced and highly nutritious diet can make your body healthy. This can improve your fertility when you suffer from autoimmune diseases.

The recent advancement in the medical industry has made it possible to conceive even when you suffer from severe autoimmune conditions. Couples who suffer from autoimmune diseases must seek medical advice and undergo a treatment plan recommended by a fertility specialist.

Patients with autoimmune conditions must wait about 6 months until the symptoms subside. This helps in avoiding pregnancy complications. The common treatments recommended for autoimmune patients to improve their fertility are listed below.

  • Corticoid or immunosuppressive drugs can control the immune system, reducing the severity of autoimmune conditions.
  • Intake of anti-inflammatory drugs can help manage pain due to autoimmune disorders.
  • Patients with Type-1 diabetes are treated with insulin.
  • Assisted reproductive treatments like IVF are effective for patients with autoimmune diseases.


The risk of pregnancy is high for couples who suffer from autoimmune disorders. With proper medical treatment, fertility can be improved, and pregnancy complications can be avoided. If the woman is affected, collaboration with multiple stakeholders during the entire course of pregnancy is advised. Consult your general physician and obstetrician to clarify any doubts or discuss any inhibitions.

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