Reproductive immunology is a look at your body’s immune response to pregnancy. When a foreign agent enters your body, such as a germ, your immune system reacts to protect you from illness and disease by releasing what are referred to as natural killer cells to destroy the invader.
During pregnancy, your immune system may consider the embryo a foreign invader and attack the cells to stop the pregnancy, leading to a miscarriage.
Reproductive Immunology Q & A
What Types of Tests Do I Need?
If the fertility experts at Columbia Fertility Associates suspect your immune system might be responsible for your miscarriage, they may recommend special blood tests to determine your immune health. These tests assess the action of your natural killer cells and their effectiveness at killing foreign invaders, which can give the team insight into what caused your miscarriage.
What Treatments are Available?
If your immune system is responsible for your pregnancy loss, the fertility team at Columbia Fertility Associates may recommend treatment to improve your chances of a successful pregnancy.
Treatment may include:
- Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg)
- Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blocking agents
Steroids work by suppressing the activity of your immune system, which might help lessen the action of the natural killer cells. IVIg is an intravenous medication rich in antibodies that may help improve your immune health.
TNF is a chemical that helps support the actions of your natural killer cells, and the blocking agents work by suppressing TNF, which may help protect your pregnancy.
Due to the side effects some of these treatments may cause, the team at Columbia Fertility Associates works closely with you to create a treatment plan that fits your needs and health.
What is Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS)?
APS is an autoimmune disorder that causes your body to make antibodies that alter blood clotting. This disorder can also lead to frequent miscarriages or stillborn births. If APS is the cause of your miscarriage, use of anticoagulants, such as heparin, during pregnancy may help ensure a healthy delivery.
To learn more about reproductive immunology and how it affects fertility and pregnancy loss, call the nearest Columbia Fertility Associates office or schedule an appointment online today with the best fertility clinic in the country.