An immune disorder, also known as an immunodeficiency or immune system disorder, is a condition that affects the body’s ability to fight off infections and other foreign substances. The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body against harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, as well as cancer cells and other abnormal cells.
Immune disorders can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetic mutations, infections, medications, and environmental exposures. Some immune disorders are inherited, while others develop later in life.
Immune system disorders can have various impacts on fertility, depending on the specific disorder and its severity. Here are a few examples:
- Autoimmune disorders: Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, mistaking them for foreign invaders. Some autoimmune disorders that can impact fertility include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. These conditions can affect fertility by causing inflammation and damage to reproductive organs, disrupting hormone levels, and affecting ovulation and implantation.
- Immunodeficiency disorders: Immunodeficiency disorders occur when the immune system is weak or ineffective, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. Some examples of immunodeficiency disorders include HIV/AIDS and severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). These conditions can impact fertility by increasing the risk of infections that can damage the reproductive organs, as well as by causing a decline in overall health and well-being.
- Allergies: Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to harmless substances, such as pollen or animal dander. Some women with allergies may experience difficulty getting pregnant due to chronic inflammation or allergic reactions that can affect the reproductive organs.
- Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS): APS is an autoimmune disorder that causes the blood to clot more easily than it should. This condition can impact fertility by causing blood clots to form in the placenta, leading to miscarriage or stillbirth.
In general, immune system disorders can impact fertility by disrupting the delicate balance of hormones and processes that are necessary for conception and pregnancy. If you are experiencing fertility issues and have an immune system disorder, it is important to with fertility expert to develop a treatment plan that addresses both your fertility concerns and your underlying condition.