Now more than ever, it’s essential to look after your immune system. But what role does it play? We answer the question: does the immune system affect fertility?

If you’re trying to get pregnant, getting your natural defences in peak shape is one of the key things you can do to boost your odds of conception. Read on to find out more.

A Woman’s Immune System: One Of The Wonders Of The World…

“A woman’s reproductive system and her immune system have a fascinating relationship that science is still getting to grips with,” says Dr Gorgy, Fertility Consultant at The Fertility and Gynaecology Academy. “Your clever immune system guards against foreign cells, attacking invaders such as viruses and even the body’s own cells if they become harmful.

“Pregnancy presents a biological conundrum: a woman’s immune system must simultaneously not attack the developing embryo (which is at least half-composed of foreign cells), whilst defending against infections and viruses that could disturb the embryo’s development. The placenta is technically not the mother’s tissue, it is the embryo’s – and for implantation and pregnancy to be successful, this foreign tissue must not be rejected. That is a key reason why early pregnancy can be a precarious time.”

How Can I Boost My Immune System To Get Pregnant?

Some women have significant issues with immune cells and their reproductive system, which may result in miscarriage or IVF failure. We at The Fertility and Gynaecology Academy have many years’ experience in treating these issues to help finally make that dream baby a reality.

But in any case, for every woman it’s wise to do what you can to get your immune system in good shape before conception. Try these 8 immunity self-help strategies:

1. Give up smoking and drinking
Okay so smoking might be eye-roll obvious, but drinking plays a part too, even pre-pregnancy, because alcohol weakens the function of immune cells. If you’re planning to try for a baby, backing off from the booze can only help.

2. Consider your BMI
It’s healthiest not to be underweight or overweight, and a BMI within the ‘normal’ range (20-25) is more conducive to a healthy immune system.

3. Eat smart foods
It’s not simply about BMI or the amount you eat, mostly it’s about what you eat. Cutting down on the carbs and eating lots of greens, leafy and colourful veg, as well as lean protein is a winner – particularly if you are undergoing assisted reproduction treatments. Other immunity-boosting foods include fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, and raw ginger.

4. Let the sunshine in
Even if you are eating a balanced diet, you may still be vitamin D deficient. It’s very common in people who work inside – and especially, let’s face it, in grey UK. As we’ve all been reminded recently with the pandemic, vitamin D really is key to a robust immune system. So if you’re trying to get pregnant, get out in the daylight as much as you can (even if just for a lunchtime walk). And get supplementing!

5. Exercise moderately
Exercise is a great way to boost physical and mental wellbeing, keeping stress at bay. However, too much exercise isn’t advisable for women trying to get pregnant. Basically if your BMI is normal, keep intense exercise below four hours in each week. Really, moderate activities are best (swimming, walking, cycling).

6. Stress less
It’s a cliché, but stress may be a fertility factor. External or internal stressors can send stress hormones such as cortisol flying around the body and studies have indicated that yes, stress can affect the immune system. So what can you do about it?
If you work in a high-intensity industry, it might be tricky to eliminate stressful contexts totally, but you can give yourself a few breaks throughout the day to briefly meditate or take a short walk.
There are lots of downtime activities that can help to destress you, such as an evening of laughter with friends or a bubble bath. You could also try an aromatherapy massage or an acupuncture treatment. And of course, exercise is one of the best anti-anxiety treatments there is!

7. Water, water, water
Water: it’s not yummy but it is hugely helpful to flush out toxins and keep your immune system healthy. If you can, invest in a water filter to get that h20 as pure as possible.

8. Practise good sleep hygiene
When we sleep, our bodies repair themselves, and sleep is nourishment for your immune system. Try to get a good night’s sleep by making it a priority. If you’re struggling to wind down at night, consider banishing screens from the bedroom, meditating before bed, and cutting back on caffeine.

When The Immune System And Reproductive System Clash…

Here at The Fertility and Gynaecology Academy, one of our areas of expertise is the relationship between the immune system and reproductive system. We have much experience in reproductive immunology and we believe that women needn’t write off recurrent miscarriage or IVF failure as simply ‘bad luck’. We specialise in treating recurrent miscarriage and recurrent IVF failure with immune treatments and have helped countless couples to finally conceive.

To book a consultation with one of our expert team, call 020 7224 1880 or email