Welcome to our web site! The information is based on over 30 years of research in immunology and reproduction studying the embryo and a transplant. See: The Center.
We have learned much about infertility and pregnancy losses by studying healthy couples who get pregnant easily and then lose every pregnancy through miscarriage. See: Research and Dr. Beer. There are couples who produce embryos that are misinterpreted by the immune system as foreign objects or even cancer cells. These embryos are repudiated and each attempt at pregnancy makes the problem worse until the uterus behaves like a "den of lions" and every pregnancy attempt fails. This occurs even when beautiful embryos are produced in the test tubes following in vitro fertilization. See: An Introduction to the Immune System.
A Typical patient:
The patients that we see are an average of 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.
Categories of Immune Problems
Our research shows that there are many categories of immune problems that can cause pregnancy loss, IVF failures and infertility. For further details, you may also wish to read an Overview of Reproductive Immunology. Here is a summary of the most relevant testing:
A. Antiphospholipid Antibodies (APA). These 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. We also advise that women have testing to double-stranded DNA, single-stranded DNA, polynucleotides and histones.
C. Elevated CD 56+ Natural Killer Cells. 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 defines this issue are:
2. NK Assay
D. Th1/Th2 Cytokines
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 Th1 Th2 Assay can help us determine a patient's risk for this problem.
E. T regulatory cells (Treg)
Higher numbers of Tregs in the blood have been associated with better pregnancy outcome. We at the center are now studying Tregs both in endometrial biopsies and in the blood of patients before and following therapy. See: T regulatory cells.
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 and we test for many of these thrombophilia conditions. See our article: Thrombophilia: Inherited and Acquired.
G. Elevated CD57 cells in the endometrium
High levels of CD57+ cells may be associated with increased risk of infertility and loss. See: Immune pathology of endometrium.
New patients in our program may also wish to read our summary protocol 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.