A Perfect Storm of Infertility

Alexander Kofinas

Rising trends in autoimmunity drive infertility, recurrent implantation failure, and miscarriages to ever-new highs.

 

Opening

An increasing number of Americans have a blood abnormality that indicates autoimmunity.  This means their immune system has created antibodies that work against the body’s cells, according to a study published on April 7, 2020, in Arthritis and Rheumatology. Autoimmunity can lead to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. However, the authors didn’t look to see whether the prevalence of diagnosed autoimmune diseases rose during the same period. Autoimmune diseases cause infertility and recurrent miscarriages. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that fetal loss has gone from 25% of all pregnancies to a new high of 29%.

Clinical observations

In my clinical experience, through the patients I see daily, I have noticed a significant increase in patients with complex autoimmune conditions preventing them from getting pregnant. This affects both natural and assisted reproductive techniques (ART) conceptions. This change is responsible for the increasing number of patients referred to me by other fertility clinics with the diagnosis of unexplained infertility. Such patients suffer unexplained infertility because of the lack of understanding of the dramatic environmental changes that cause all kinds of peculiar and difficult-to-understand autoimmune conditions.

A rise in unclassifiable neurodegenerative diseases

When I discuss this change in my practice with neurologists and rheumatologists, they tell me they also see patients with unusual symptoms that do not fit into any known diagnostic categories. For example, a patient appears to have Parkinson’s disease, an autoimmune neurodegenerative neurological condition, but this cannot be confirmed clinically.

More people suffer from autoimmune diseases

The researchers of a recent study over two decades found a rise in the number of people who had blood tests positive for antinuclear antibodies (ANA), a marker of autoimmunity. They used blood samples from 14,211 subjects ages 12 and older as part of the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in blood samples from 1988 to 1991; ANA prevalence was 11%. It rose slightly to 11.5% for the 1999–2004 period and 15.9% in the 2011–2012 period. Comparing differences in gender, race, and age, the most significant increases in positive ANA tests occurred in men, non-Hispanic whites, adolescents, and adults ages 50 and older.

 

No clear reasons

“The reasons for the increasing prevalence of autoimmunity markers remain unclear,” said senior author Frederick W. Miller, MD, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “They are concerning, however, as they may herald an increase in autoimmune disorders and emphasize the need for additional studies to determine the driving forces underlying these findings and to enable the development of possible preventative measures.” Women are four times more likely than men to be diagnosed with some form of autoimmunity. This has severe implications for women’s fertility health.

A perfect storm of infertility

I agree with this last statement by Dr. Miller, and I would add that we are now entering a territory of a “perfect storm” in autoimmunity that will create a tsunami of new infertility cases soon. The first waves of the tsunami of infertility are “crashing” at our fertility clinics, overwhelming fertility specialists. If you are one of the women with difficulty conceiving naturally or using IVF, you may have severe immune issues. The same is true for women experiencing recurrent miscarriages. Please, search for qualified, experienced reproductive specialists before you experience more pain and suffering. There is no unexplained infertility. There are only infertility patients who have incomplete evaluations. Stop wasting your money and subjecting your body to multiple rounds of IVF. Get diagnosed and ask for a protocol that treats all the issues you might unknowingly suffer from, preventing you from realizing your dream of motherhood.