What is it?
Reproductive immunology refers to a field of medicine that studies interactions (or the absence of them) between the immune system and components related to the developing fetus.Your immune system is designed to fight infection and eliminate foreign organisms to prevent you from becoming unwell.
The immune system fights toxins and infections with its army of immune system cells (NK) and chemicals (Cytokines). Research has shown that an “overactive “immune system may negatively affect pregnancy outcomes. The immune system has to learn to identify which Antigens are dangerous and which are not. Embryonic cells antigens can be recognised as foreign or dangerous. Every pregnancy contains paternal DNA i.e. “foreign” to the female body.
During the first stages of pregnancy, a special mechanism gets activated to prevent the overreaction of the immune system and the attack to the fetus. When this preventing mechanism fails, failed implantation and miscarriage occurs.
There are different types of immune system responses that can cause reproductive failure. They do not exist in isolation but inter-connect in a way that perpetuates the vicious circle.
How Reproductive Immunology works?
Reproductive immunology through blood tests identifies if immunological disorders may be contributing to recurrent IVF failure and miscarriages and treats it to increase the chance of a successful pregnancy.
Who benefits from Reproductive Immunology?
Immune testing and treatment is not recommended routinely for all patients. However for those who have suffered recurrent IVF failure or miscarriages it may increase the rate of successful embryo implantation resulting in a successful pregnancy. Other indicators are:
- Associated or pre-existing auto immune conditions
- Coeliac disease
- Die off ratio (embryos not reaching transferable stage on Day 3)
How is it treated?
Treatment will depend upon the results of the blood tests, and the actual levels of cytokines or natural killer cells. This can vary significantly between patients. Treatment is planned to promote the correct immune response to prevent the rejection and increase the chance of implantation. Raised natural killer cells will be treated with additional medication during your treatment cycles. They include the following:
1. Steroids –Dexamethasone/Prednisolone
2. Clexane 40mg
3. Possible Intralipid / IVIG
Raised cytokines is treated with Humira and in some cases with intralipids instead of or as well as Humira. It is important to discuss your treatment options with a doctor experienced at analysing the blood results and able to prescribe the most suitable treatment. The blood samples are analysed by a specialist laboratory in Chicago and take approximately 2 weeks for the results.
At Newlife clinic we have a team of experienced medical professionals, doctors, nurses and embryologists who have the expertise to carry out this procedure. Newlife clinic also has the latest state of the art equipment installed.