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Transplantation. 2019 Aug 5. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000002903. [Epub ahead of print]

Immunosuppression and reproductive health after kidney transplantation.

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Department of Renal Medicine, Akershus University Hospital, NORWAY.
Department of Transplantation Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet, NORWAY.
Section for Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Biosciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Oslo, Oslo, NORWAY.


Following successful kidney transplantation, recipients usually regain fertility. Post-engraftment pregnancies should be planned and the teratogenic mycophenolic acid should be replaced with azathioprine before conception. To avoid unintentional pregnancies, preconception counselling is mandatory in women of reproductive age who are scheduled for a kidney transplant. Counselling should be repeated after transplantation. Female recipients should receive advice to use long-acting reversible contraception and avoid pregnancy for a minimum of one year following transplantation. Conception should be deferred even longer in female recipients with moderate to severe proteinuria, uncontrolled hypertension or reduced graft function and be very carefully discussed in highly HLA-sensitized patients. The recipient wishes, values and acceptance of pregnancy-related risk should receive attention. Assisted fertilization increases the risk of preeclampsia, but still result in live births. Pregnancy management in kidney transplant recipients should be provided by a multidisciplinary team consisting of a nephrologist, a midwife and an obstetrician with expertise in high-risk pregnancies. Until measurement of unbound fraction of calcineurin inhibitors becomes clinically available, we recommend to adjust calcineurin inhibitor dose according to whole blood trough level, even though it overestimates the effective drug concentration during pregnancy. If nephrotoxicity is suspected, the calcineurin inhibitor dose should be reduced. Breastfeeding should be accepted after kidney transplantation, since infant immunosuppressive drug exposure via breastmilk is extremely low. The prevalence of congenital malformations in children fathered by male recipients, including patients on mycophenolic acid therapy at the time of conception, is at level with the general population.

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