Hypothyroidism and fertility

Hi. I am interested to hear if anyone has any experience with hypothyroidism and fertility. My partner and I have been trying to conceive for years without success. Our GP then referred us to an NHS fertility clinic where we spent 8 months having tests, surgical investigations and procedures to finally be diagnosed with "unexplained infertility". I am now 40 years old and no longer eligible for NHS.funding and so we are now working with a private IVF clinic. As you can imagine this has all been rather stressful and I had been to the GP several times complaining of headaches, fatigue, lethargy, throat pain, depression etc and each time was told that it was all to be expected with fertility difficulty. We were finally scheduled to start our IVF treatment last week. Everything was all set to go, and all I needed was for the IVF consultant to calculate the right prescription of down regulation and hyperstimulation hormones and for that, he needed to do a full spectrum hormone blood test. The test result came back with TPOab 652u/ml and TSH 7.19mu/L. I have been told that firstly, this could be one of the reasons that we have had fertility issues and secondly that we can't start IVF until this gets stabilised. I am now on 50mg levothyroxine as a starter dose with another blood test in 3 weeks.

I am furious that that the first time my TSH and TPOab levels were tested is part of a routine procedure for IVF. why were they not tested by GP and NHS fertility clinic when there is documented evidence that this can play a part in fertility issues? Could this have been the underlying cause of my problems conceiving? And can it be solved with the right dose of levothyroxine (which would be a lot cheaper than IVF at £6000 per go)

Has anyone had any experience with this? Would love to hear from you if you do.

12 Replies

oldestnewest
  • You should be angry but use it to learn more about thyroid. This functional neurologist looks at hypothyroid problems from 22 different angles. This one is in regard to fertility. It is 5 minutes long.

  • Loofoz, your elevated TPO antibodies mean you are postive for autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto's) which has caused your hypothyroidism.

    Hypothyroidism can be an underlying cause of infertility. Levothyroxine should reduce TSH and raise T4 and T3 to levels which make conception possible. NICE recommends the TSH of hypothyroid women planning conception should be in the low-normal range 0.4-2.0 with FT4 in the top 75% of range. Conception is difficult with TSH above this range and, in women who do become pregnant, the risk of miscarriage is increased. I'm surprised that your hormone levels weren't checked out at the NHS fertility clinic as screening isn't universal in women planning to conceive but you would expect the fertility clinic to have tested.

    I hope it won't be too long before your levels stabilise so you can start IVF and I hope it's successful.

    cks.nice.org.uk/hypothyroid...

    cks.nice.org.uk/hypothyroid...

  • Thanks Clutter. I really appreciate the reply. Hopefully we can get my TSH level stabilised and below 2.0 and I can start IVF soon. I'm just frustrated that we have spent the last 2 years undergoing tests and investigations with the NHS to be diagnosed with "unexplained infertility" and we were all set to start treatment and now it will be delayed by a few months to get this sorted out. It should have been done months ago. i am on 50mg levothyroxine now and will be tested every 3 weeks until we get the dose right. I really hope it won't take too many times. My partner and I had to take expensive (£200 each) HIV / Hepatitis tests which is a legal requirement for freezing sperm and embryos and they are only valid for 6 months so I imagine we'll have to take these again. any idea how long it might take to get my levels adjusted and medication sorted out?

    Thanks again

  • Loofoz, quicker than most as repeat testing is usually 6/8 weeks. Dose increases are usually in 25mcg incremements so a guess would be 100mcg and take Humanbean's advice about testing vits/minerals. Getting everything optimal will pay off for when you start IVF :)

  • While you are working on your thyroid hormone levels, ask your doctor for blood tests for vitamin B12, vitamin D, folate, ferritin and iron. These are often low in hypothyroid people. Don't accept being told your results are "normal". Doctors tell people their results are normal if they appear anywhere in the reference range. Ask for a copy of your results, and insist on being given the reference ranges. Then post them here and people can advise whether your results are optimal or not. Self-treating with vitamins and minerals is perfectly possible when you know what you need, and people can advise on this too.

    Another thing - many people with autoimmune hypothyroidism feel better when they go gluten-free. It has to be done whole-heartedly though - people can't be "almost gluten-free". It is all or nothing.

  • I have an under active thyroid diagnosed at 18. I have never been able to conceive, we underwent tests and it came back as unexplained infertility. I'm forty now too and not eligible for NHS treatment either and can't afford private IVF. I still think it's to do with my thyroid, but they never looked anymore into it even though I asked.

  • Hi Cookiegirl. Really sorry to hear that you have had the same issues with unexplained infertility. I agree with you and am certain that my problems have been due to my thyroid but now that I am over 40 the NHS are not interested in helping me at all and put my fertility issues down to my age. It is absolutely disgraceful. The IVF clinic have been totally supportive and it is so awful that this kind of help isn't available to NHS patients. My partner and I have had to save and remortgage the house to afford treatment but if it doesn't work - I don't know what we are going to do.

    Last time I went to see my GP with abdominal cramps and chest pains I was told that the problem was eating onions and I got a lecture about how to cook them until they are complete soft and translucent. I couldn't believe it.

  • Hi Loofoz, I see your thread is some time ago so hoping you don't mind me contacting you. We've been TTC for 4 years, had 3 unsuccessful IUIs and 1 IVF (low levels of HCG that then declined) and 1 unsuccessful frozen embryo transfer all under the title of 'unexplained infertility'.

    I was diagnosed with an under active thyroid 2 weeks ago and have started taking medication and am interested to know what happened with you and your story?

    I'm 34 and we are due to start our second round of IVF in January but I've been told it can take a year to get your thyroid under control.

    Any advice or tips would be gratefully received.

    Thanks so much xx

  • Hi. I replied but just noticed it was on the main thread. I hope you can read it. If not - let me know

  • Both times I have been pregnant I was on a meat, fish, veg and water diet. With hindsight I was gluten free - which definitely helps with hypothyroidism and for me, fertility.

  • Hi. Sorry to hear that you have been having fertility issues too. I am frustrated that I went through several surgical procedures to then be diagnosed with "unexplained infertility" and it was my IVF clinic that discovered my thyroid issues. I don't understand why my GP and the fertility hospital hadn't tested that and wasted 3 years faffing around! Anyway it has taken me the best part of a year (11 months) to get my thyroid under control. For the first 5 months I followed my GP's advise and waited months between tests and slowly increased dosage until I joined this site, got some great advise and paid for private thyroid function tests. The great people on this site then helped me understand my test result and now I self medicate and feel I finally have it under control. And yes going gluten free really does help. I fought it for a long time but It is undeniable that I feel a lot better by removing gluten from my diet. I was hoping that my fertility would return with my thyroid issues under control but still no joy and so we start our first IVF in January. I will keep you all posted of progress and really wish you all the luck in the world too.

    Take care and keep in touch

    Louise

  • Hi Louise, I'm so sorry to hear of your fertility problems. I have suffered the same misfortune. TTC for 2 years and then a week away from going to the IVF clinic (NHs funded) and I get diagnosed with an under-active thyroid. I had asked for the test to be carried out by the GP on advise from a friend. Now the nhs consultant won't return my calls, I put it down to being 'out of process' and the IVF clinic have said come back in 9 months if you have no success. Although I think I would have to re-apply for the funding or pay. It is so disheartening to think that this simple test that should of been done at the start of the process was overlooked, and considering there are other ppl out there with the same problem this should be something that is completed as standard. The NHS are far to quick to diagnose ppl with unexplained fertility which I think is a really upsetting place to be. I am now thinking about getting a full thyroid panel test done to make sure I am on the right Meds and doing the right things, I wondered if you have any advise about who I could speak to or where I could go to get the tests and advice I need. All the best of luck with the IVF.

    Look forward to hearing from you

    C xx

You may also like...