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Verh K Acad Geneeskd Belg. 2006;68(5-6):357-77.

Thyroid autoimmunity and female infertility.

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Departement of Endocrinology (AZ-VUB), Laarbeeklaan 101--B 1090 Brussels.


In infertile women, the prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity (TAI) is significantly higher compared to that in parous age-matched women. This is especially the case in women with endometriosis and the polycystic ovarian syndrome. TAI does not interfere with normal fetal implantation and comparable pregnancy rates have been observed after assisted reproductive technology (ART) in women with and without TAI. During the first trimester however, pregnant women with TAI carry a significantly increased risk for a miscarriage compared to women without TAI, even when euthyroidism was present before pregnancy. It has further been demonstrated that controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) in preparation for ART has a significant impact on thyroid function, particularly in women with TAI. It is therefore advised to measure thyroid function and detect TAI in infertile women, before ART, and to follow-up these parameters after COH and during pregnancy when TAI was initially present. Women with thyroid dysfunction before or at early gestation stages should be treated with 1-thyroxine to avoid assisted pregnancy or further pregnancy complications. Whether thyroid hormones should be given prior to or during pregnancy in euthyroid women with TAI remains controversial and needs further investigation.

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