High Thyroid Level & IVF: I've been... - Fertility Network UK

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High Thyroid Level & IVF

thepregnantpause
thepregnantpause

I've been seeing an acupuncturist for a few weeks leading up to our first IVF treatment and she mentioned checking my thyroid levels. I checked a blood test I had in May and TSH was 4.61, which Dr Google tells me is high, but only just. The blood tests were done at my GP to find out why I am constantly exhausted and emotional, and they didn't mention it at all when they gave me the results, all I got back was 'Try taking a Vit D supplement'.

Wondering if anyone has any experience with this and if it could be an issue? If so what can I do to lower it, do I need to go back to my GP?

18 Replies
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You need to go back to your GP although if you are under the NHS you could discuss with them as that is too high. It is classed by GP's as within standard range but mine was 4.96 and my clinic (I was having private treatment abroad) wrote to my GP and asked them to put me on meds....clinic wanted my levels under 2 which my GP agreed. For conception your TSH should be under 2.5 and stand your ground if anyone tries to fob you off!!xx

DianeArnold
DianeArnoldAdministrator

Hi thepregnantpause. Thyroxine is a hormone, and all hormones should be in balance. Your TSH level is only slightly raised, but if it has been a few months since you were tested, I would go and see your GP again and ask for a retest, just in case you do need some medication to balance it out. Of course carry on with the Vitamin D and also Folic Acid, which you should normally take when trying to conceive and during early pregnancy. If you have been trying to get pregnant for over a year, I would ask whether you could be referred to a fertility specialist for further investigations. Good luck! Diane

Hi Diane, it was only late May that I had the blood test so not that long ago. We’ve been trying for 2 years and are starting IVF really soon so have seen lots of different fertility specialists already, but nobody other than my acupuncturist has mentioned thyroid levels being a factor, which I find very surprising as it seems quite important! I’m now waiting to hear back from my GP to see what I can do to get the levels down

DianeArnold
DianeArnoldAdministrator in reply to thepregnantpause

Hi. The level is only slightly up, normal upper limit is 4.5. See what your GP says. Diane

Hi

My UK clinic wanted me to take thyroxine to bring the levels down even though I was only just above the desired level of 2.5. (I was 2.53). It only took a few weeks to bring it down. Perhaps ask your consultant to write a letter to your GP.

x

Hey I have an auto immune thyroid condition where my thyroid isn't working so TSH levels high. It was diagnosed as part of infertility journey. It's been a challenge for me as I waited almost a year before doing another IVF cycle because I needed to get consistent TSH levels. My fertility clinic doctor and also a private Endocrinologist I went to said that for fertility/IVF TSH ideally should be around 2. The problem with GPs (my GP was same!) is the UK reference range does not support fertility issues! If you can I'd try to get a referral to an Endocrinologist. I managed to get my level to just below 2 and just got a BFP last week from last treatment cycle. I hope that helps and good luck 😊

Thank you, I’m glad I picked up on it before we started our first cycle because it doesn’t sound like anyone else would have done. Congratulations on your pregnancy, wishing you all the best :)

As per cindrella says there's normal levels, then there are conception and pregnancy recommended levels

The upper level for TSH in pregnancy should be 2.5.

Also, for some people, like me, a TSH above 3.5 was already causing symptoms before the pregnancy: I kept waking up screaming at night, because I was dreaming of being about to die because I had something poisonous in my throat. Since when I started with thyroid medication, these nightmares have disappeared. I think they were caused by an enlarged thyroid that made me suffocate.

4.5 is a limit that "usually" works, but not for everyone. And the thyroid hormone is really important for a baby, especially early in the pregnancy because the embryo is unable to produce it by itself.

Take care!

That’s really scary! Glad you got it sorted

My GP didn’t put two and two together when I had a thyroid check up. They told me I was actually in the normal range and suggested I come off my medication. Which I did. It was only when I was speaking to a friend who mentioned it could effect my chances of conception (I’d been TTC for 2 years at that point) so I went back and even then I wasn’t told it should be under 2.5 until I went to my fertility clinic and even now, I was told yesterday that during a pregnancy it should be under 2. You have to push for a GP to do anything. And don’t let them fob you off like they have done! Good luck xxx

I just can’t believe that it’s never been brought up by anyone, GP or fertility specialists! Especially as we had a GP referral to the fertility clinic in the first place over a year ago, so they are well aware of our situation. Can I just ask, did you still go through IVF or did you conceive naturally when your Thyroid levels had gone down?

Went through IVF, it was really only when we were about to start that they said about my levels being 2.5 so who knows, it could have been the reason I couldn’t conceive naturally as there were no other reasons!

Sounds like youre in the exact same boat as me! Now I’m wondering if we should postpone IVF and see if this helps, but I don’t really want to wait longer than we already have! We have our nurse appointment on the 16th and I will have up to date bloods back by then so will have to see what she says. Thanks for your help!

As other people have said it's one of those cases where 'normal' is not the same as 'optimal'. My TSH level was just within the normal range but I was still prescribed levothyroxine to bring it down (this was outside the UK). The way it was explained to me was that it was 'fine for everyday life, but not great for conceiving'.

Mines was 3.98 and this was picked up by my clinic. They gave me a letter to drop in to my GP that explained although my level was normal, because I was having fertility treatment they would like them to prescribe thyroxine to lower it. Had a wee paragraph about the implantation benefits of having a TSH of 2.5.

I just dropped the letter in at reception and made it clear I’d be back in a few days to get the prescription and they did it for me and recommended a repeat test in 3 months. I’m sure your clinic could give you a similar letter. Good luck x

Hiya, I have had 5 rounds of IVF and on all rounds my thyroid levels have always been checked at different clinics. I unfortunately developed a problem with my thyroid a few years back and this was discovered by my IVF clinic initially. I have also had treatment stopped because of my levels being 2.6 and have not been able to start treatment unless it is at a stable level below 2.5. To be honest in my opinion I would not start any IVF until you have your thyroid below the recommended levels. It is difficult but it makes sense to get your hormone levels balanced out before you start medication. The problem is that when you are on treatment your levels can also go up due to all the medication? my levels jumped up from 0.4 - 3.5 in 4 weeks so this is why they need to be pretty low to start off with. Hope this helps and don't want to worry you but its best you know now rather than later down the line. xx

Hi! I have an j detective thyroid and previously has ICSI treatment as we have been struggling to conceive. I had to go to portalbot fertility treatment and was advised my level should be 3 or under to get the best from treatment. After the first go I did catch however babies heartbeat stopped at 7weeks so they are unsure why 😞 since that I piled on my weight and now im getting my bmi back under 30 to try again! If you go to a fertility clinic local to you ask them for advice as they can contact your gp and see if you need any medication to lower your level 😊 hope this helps! Good luck xxx

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