A decision to go ahead with assisted conception for any couple is a hard one. This is because of the psychological stress that inevitably accompanies it along with the financial outlay involved. Things can become particularly distressing when one has to face a failed IVF cycle or worse still an early miscarriage. Without giving patients any false hope, we believe we can offer patients with a history of recurrent IVF failure or miscarriage, a better chance of success by studying the role of their immune system in pregnancy.
The late Dr Alan E. Beer, who is widely credited to be a pioneer in the field of Reproductive Immunology, believed that it is not simply due to bad luck that some women fail to conceive or have repeated pregnancy failure.
In the 1980s, it became clear to me that products of an activated immune system could damage the placenta and cause miscarriage, as well as damage the embryo and cause implantation failure. Natural killer cells, which help to keep the body from developing cancer, can over-populate the uterus or exist at too high levels within the blood stream. These cells then go overboard, killing the embryo or interfering with the endocrine system that produces the hormones that are essential for pregnancy. This response can often be associated with complications for both the mother and her baby if the pregnancy occurs without treatment to suppress the activity of the immune system. – Dr Alan E. Beer
At The Fertility & Gynaecology Academy we have the experience to minimise recurrent miscarriage and IVF failure by investigating the immune system of the patient and offering immune therapy suited for each individual. The treatments offered may include Intralipid and IVIg (Intravenous immunoglobulin) infusions and TNF-alpha blocking agents amongst others.
There is currently much debate going on in the scientific community about the role of the immune system in promoting or preventing a healthy pregnancy. As there are no large scale controlled studies that offer indisputable scientific evidence to confirm the reproductive immunology approach, many organisations do not recommend it. It is therefore important to also take on board the following views: