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Can thyroid disease cause negative effects on fertility and pregnancy?


Yes, thyroid disorders can have a negative impact on fertility and pregnancy by making it more challenging to get pregnant. So, you can still get pregnant with the condition. The reason is that the two main types of thyroid, namely hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland) and hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) have been linked to irregular menstrual cycles.

When your menstrual cycles are irregular, timing sex or even insemination during the days you are most likely to become pregnant can be quite difficult.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is a tiny gland in your neck that is shaped like a butterfly. It makes hormones (chemicals) that help your body function and boost your health in many ways including reproductive health, heartbeat regulation and food digestion.

Can thyroid disease cause male infertility?

Good question! Thyroid disorder is not only a woman’s problem. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism affect men too and if left untreated, any of the conditions can lead to male infertility because they cause problems like abnormal semen quantity, sperm count, sperm movement and sperm shape. 

Key points on thyroid disease and ways the condition can affect fertility and pregnancy

·         If your thyroid gland produces too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) of certain hormones, you have a thyroid disorder. In women, this can interfere with fertility and make getting pregnant difficult or cause problems during pregnancy and after birth.

·        Undiagnosed or untreated thyroid disease whether before, during or after pregnancy can lead to serious complications that include difficulty conceiving, miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth.

·         Since an over-or under-active thyroid can prevent you from conceiving, treating it such that your thyroid function stabilizes before trying to get pregnant can help you get pregnant quite early.

·         If the thyroid disease is treated during pregnancy, that can help you have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.

·         If you have had treatment for Graves’ disease, your baby will have a very small probability to develop temporary hyperthyroidism. But your doctor can monitor and treat it during pregnancy and after birth.


Diagnoses and Treatment


The treatments for thyroid vary based on the severity of symptoms and your healthcare provider will ensure that you get the right medications after the diagnosis.


·         Ask your doctor if it is safe to change the thyroid medicine you’re taking during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

·         Remember to tell your midwife or obstetrician each time you are pregnant that you have a thyroid disorder or have received treatment for one in the past if you have.

Bottom line

Dr. Nataki Douglas, MD, Ph.D., a reproductive endocrinologist and the chair of the Modern Fertility Medical Advisory Board, put this way, “Thyroid hormones are important for your general health, but we also know that pregnancy can be impacted by thyroid problems if those problems aren’t ADDRESSED FIRST,”

Thyroid problems are genetic in some families. This means that if you are a member of such a family and are unwell, you need to discuss with your healthcare provider if thyroid testing is necessary. When it comes to plans to get kids, everyone should discuss thyroid with their doctor.


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