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Immune Testing

Couples trying to have a baby may be frustrated by both a failure to conceive and a failure to maintain a pregnancy once conception has occurred. Knowing what to expect from your immune testing and treatment with us can help to put your mind at ease.

At Footsteps To Fertility Centre, we have pioneered a unique approach to fertility, supporting patients not just medically but, if needed, physically, nutritionally, emotionally and psychologically as well.

We see women and men from right across the reproductive health spectrum: from those who are who starting out trying for a baby and just need some reassurance, to couples who have fertility issues and are looking for fertility testing.

Immune Testing
Immune Testing

Immune dysfunction has been implicated in some cases of recurrent pregnancy loss, unexplained infertility and failed IVF cycles.

When the immune system is over- or under- activated, implantation may be compromised resulting in infertility or repeated pregnancy loss.

Immunological factors involved in adverse obstetrical outcomes and infertility may include the presence of anti-thyroid antibodies (ATA), anti-phospholipid antibodies (APLA) and activated natural killer cells (NKa).

Other immune dysfunction may be due to an immunological mismatch in DQ alpha and HLA genotypes or disorders called thrombophilias.

Thrombophilias are a group of disorders that increase the risk of clotting in the body and closely associated with recurrent pregnancy loss. Whether thrombophilias cause infertility or result in failed IVF cycles is still controversial.

Immune testing is not routine. But in cases of unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss, multiple failed IVF cycles with good embryo quality or true unexplained infertility, testing can be considered.

Pregnancy is a unique situation in which the placenta invades the lining of the womb and is a potential threat to the well-being of the mother. The mother’s immune system is critical in establishing the relationship between the mother and the foetus that allows both to flourish.

The immune system has two main mechanisms: cellular (type 1) and antibody (type 2). In normal pregnancy, substances produced by the placenta (particularly progesterone) cause a shift in how the mother’s immune system behaves so that it becomes ‘type 2 dominant’.

This is because type 1 responses are potentially more dangerous for the pregnancy. This shift means that some autoimmune diseases that are predominantly cellular, such as rheumatoid arthritis, tend to get better during pregnancy.

Antibody autoimmune diseases such as Lupus can get worse, and specific antibodies can have their own harmful effects too – on both the placenta and the foetus.

At Footsteps to Fertility Centre, we offer an immunological consultation that focuses on immunological causes for an absence of pregnancy. We focus on your individual situation and analyse all the potential causes, such as genetic, infectious, endocrine, uterine and immunological abnormalities. After diagnosis, we give you our treatment recommendations.

For some patients, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) in conjunction with the artificial insemination process has proven effective. If previous IVF-ICSI treatments are unsuccessful, we start with infusion treatment before inserting the embryo.

If a patient has suffered recurrent miscarriages without artificial insemination, we start treatment as soon as there is a positive pregnancy test and continue it up to the 24th week of pregnancy.

In our experience, pregnancy rates and birth rates increase significantly with immune therapy and it also significantly reduces the risk of another miscarriage in patients with a history of recurrent miscarriages.

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