Preparing to conceive – immune factors

Implantation of the embryo in the uterus is a vital and pivotal event which determines the success of an ongoing pregnancy after conception, or after transfer of an embryo in an IVF cycle.
The crucial role that the immune system plays in the process of implantation and the development of the placenta is gradually being elucidated though there is much we still don’t know. A positive finding of immune factors like anti-cardiolipin antibodies, anti- thyroid antibodies, anti-nuclear antibodies or an excess of some types of NK cells can indicate that there may be subtle imbalances in the immune environment of the uterus which are not conducive to establishing a healthy pregnancy.

Most women diagnosed with immune factors affecting fertility will be prescribed drugs to dampen the immune system and/or to reduce blood clotting. Some patients may request acupuncture as an adjunct therapy to steroid treatment to help manage side effects.

While we feel it is too early to offer specific acupuncture clinical programmes for women with immune related issues, some interesting research on the possible role acupuncture might play is being done in this area.