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Suppression Of Immune System - How It Affects The Chance Of Conceiving With IVF?

Written and reviewed by
Indira Ivf 86% (51 ratings)
MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
IVF Specialist, Delhi  •  30 years experience
Suppression Of Immune System - How It Affects The Chance Of Conceiving With IVF?

There is every possibility that even after going through more than three rounds of IVF, the treatment might not turn out to be successful, wherein it might not result in pregnancy. Naturally this kind of situation makes women frustrated and thus leads them to consider other alternative options.

One other option which is sometimes offered by IVF clinics present abroad after few unsuccessful attempts or miscarriages, which cannot be explained by the specialists, is using corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are steroid hormones that can either be made in the body or even in a lab.

Generally, corticosteroids are used to treat certain life threatening autoimmune diseases like lupus, severe kinds of allergies and for preventing the organ transplants from getting rejected. Certain serious side-effects are associated with corticosteroids, which include insomnia, infections, mood changes, heart problems, gain in weight and also headache.

At IVF Clinics, corticosteroids are given in order to meet the demands of people having fertility problems along with other doses to suppress immunity. All these are mainly driven by misunderstanding both on the part of a consumer as well as that of medical, on how the immune response actually works.

Immune system in case of pregnancy

  • Most of the doctors carry a view, which is completely outdated. They believe that immunity gets naturally reduced, when a woman is pregnant. As a result of this belief, they feel that it is completely acceptable to get the immune system suppressed by way of medication.
  • The argument which the doctors put forward in case of suppressing the immune system during pregnancy completely ignores clear proof of the fact that an immune response in a controlled manner is actually an essential part of normal embryo implantation. This is necessary for healthy growth of the fetal. Though the uterus might look to be unwilling to allow implantation of the embryo, if the immune system is suppressed through the use of drugs, then that will not solve the problem.
  • The immune system plays an important role as it acts as a defence for the body against all kinds of infections and cancer. During pregnancy, cells of immune system assist the uterus to tolerate and properly nurture the embryo even when it carries the foreign genes from the father.

Use of corticosteroids is not so safe or effective
The records put forward by the IVF clinics through those women, who have been pregnant by way of IVF, have created the false perception about the fact that corticosteroid drugs are safe and effective. The patient group had low chance of adverse effects from the use of this drug has ensured wide-scale use of corticosteroids, as they come up with no kind of immune disorder.

Still, there always remains a high chance of problems in pregnancy and a higher rate of foetal malformations for women, who take these drugs. Data suggests that among 311 women, who had used corticosteroid drugs for more than the first 3 months of IVF cycle, had gone on to show 64% increase in miscarriage.

In certain case of autoimmunity, some women might benefit from these drugs but in majority of women, these steroids cause more than any good.

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