A Typical patient:
A typical reproductive immunology patient averages 38.6 years old plus or minus 2 years. They have been unsuccessful 4.4 plus or minus 2 times and are near the end of their reproductive career, bruised, abused, and often without hope. Most of them can be helped by finding out what is wrong, and if there is a problem, providing them with the understanding and offering of the proper immune treatment.
Types of Immune Problems
Research shows that there are a number of immune problems that can cause pregnancy loss, IVF failures and infertility. For further details, you may also wish to read the article on Testing.
Here is a summary of the most relevant Reproductive Immunology testing:
A. Antiphospholipid Antibodies (APA). Antiphospholipid antibodies are the glue molecules for implantation and placentation.
B. Antinuclear antibodies (ANA) Some women develop antibodies to the baby’s DNA or DNA breakdown products and this problem is reflected by a positive Anti-nuclear antibody test (ANA). This is often with a speckled pattern. It is also advised that women have testing to double-stranded DNA, single-stranded DNA, polynucleotides and histones.
C. Natural Killer (NK) Cell Assay This test determines the killing power of a woman’s Natural Killer Cells in the test tube. Elevated NK numbers and/or NK activity can be associated with increased risk for infertility and loss. The testing that typically further defines this issue is the Reproductive Immunophenotype.
D. Th1 Th2 Assay. The immune system is balanced between a TH1 (autoimmune) and TH2 (pregnancy or suppressive response). TH1 predominance can also be associated with reproductive failure. The Th1Th2 Assay can help determine a patient’s risk for this problem.
E. T regulatory cells. Higher numbers of Tregs in the blood have been associated with better pregnancy outcome.
F. Thrombophilia, recurrent miscarriage and infertility. Thrombophilia is increased tendency to clot. Throughout an entire normal pregnancy, the mother’s ability to produce blood clots in the uterus and the placenta is suppressed. However, in some mothers, this clotting tendency is not suppressed sufficiently. This can contribute to many pregnancy complications.
Those interested in learning what is involved in becoming a reproductive immunology patient, may also wish to read the documents: Treatment Protocol and Service Pricing Protocol. In addition, they may wish to visit our Network with Others page for patient support and fellow patient experiences. Lastly, there are many Online Resources we recommend for additional education about reproductive immunology.