Reproductive immunology, anyone? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 05-13-2013, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas,

 

Is anyone out there doing immunological testing or treatments while trying to conceive? I got tested recently and found out I have elevated Natural Killer Cells, elevated Cytokines, and am positive for one antiphospholipid antibody (APA). I just had my first intralipid infusion today and go for another one next week, then another round of testing. I've also made some dietary changes and am looking into supplements that help with autoimmune issues.

 

Just curious to hear who else has been down this road and whether it helped with recurrent loss. And, I would love to be able to chat with other women who are in the same trenches with me right now...


treehugger.gif Mama to 1 lovely DD,  angel1.gif 1/12 @ 8 weeks (ectopic), angel1.gif 1/14 @ 7 weeks, many chemical pregnancies, TTC DH'S #1, my #2
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#2 of 10 Old 05-14-2013, 09:14 AM
 
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I do not know anything about this. Hoping someone will chime in soon . Can you tell me in simple words your symptoms and how it affects you because when I look it up online the definition is really technical.

Thanks

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#3 of 10 Old 05-14-2013, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi tracyamber,

 

I had no symptoms except recurrent loss (multiple chemical pregnancies) and the ability to sustain only an ectopic pregnancy (there are no Natural Killer cells in the fallopian tubes). I do have a diagnosed gastrointestinal autoimmune disease as well as other indicators of autoimmune problems, such as hives, skin rashes, and hypothyroidism. I hadn't made the connection until I started researching it. BTW, all of this developed after a successful pregnancy and birth of my DD -- apparently this is a pretty common scenario.

 

If you're interested in researching this, Yahoo's Immunology Support group is a great place to start. They have lots of informative overview documents, files, etc. you can download once you're a member. I've learned a lot through this group.
 


treehugger.gif Mama to 1 lovely DD,  angel1.gif 1/12 @ 8 weeks (ectopic), angel1.gif 1/14 @ 7 weeks, many chemical pregnancies, TTC DH'S #1, my #2
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#4 of 10 Old 05-14-2013, 11:41 AM
 
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Yes, I have Hashimoto's and other autoimmune conditions so I had some testing done and found out I have elevated NK cells. When we do IVF, I'm supposed to have an intralipid infusion sometime before the transfer, and then more if I get pregnant. They didn't test us for much - just HLA/DQ alpha matches and the NK cells, I think. Maybe it's because I've never been pregnant.


27 y/o, TTC 3.5 years with PCOS, Hashimoto's, elevated NK cells, and severe MFI. IVF postponed indefinitely while trying to stabilize thyroid.
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#5 of 10 Old 05-14-2013, 12:30 PM
 
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I read a book that may interest you... Safe Uses of Cortisol by Dr. William McK Jefferies. Fascinating to say the least but in a nutshell endocrinology has everything to do with immunology. He treated hundreds of women for adrenal dysfunction that effected their immune
function and or fertility. They later had healthy pregnancies and babies.

http://www.townsendletter.com/Nov2012/booksafeuse1112.html
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#6 of 10 Old 05-14-2013, 01:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LitMama View Post

Hi tracyamber,

 

I had no symptoms except recurrent loss (multiple chemical pregnancies) and the ability to sustain only an ectopic pregnancy (there are no Natural Killer cells in the fallopian tubes). I do have a diagnosed gastrointestinal autoimmune disease as well as other indicators of autoimmune problems, such as hives, skin rashes, and hypothyroidism. I hadn't made the connection until I started researching it. BTW, all of this developed after a successful pregnancy and birth of my DD -- apparently this is a pretty common scenario.

 

If you're interested in researching this, Yahoo's Immunology Support group is a great place to start. They have lots of informative overview documents, files, etc. you can download once you're a member. I've learned a lot through this group.
 

I'll check that out. Thanks hope you are getting so good advice.

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#7 of 10 Old 05-18-2013, 12:22 PM
 
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Hi litmama- I'm looking into this now. I have 2 appointments with Dr. Kwak Kim and Carolyn Coulam here in Chicago. I seem to be working on my 5th loss now. Two normal, no problem ptegnancies and then: Blighted ovum, pregnancy of unknown location, loss of monoamniotic twins at 13 weeks, chemical and this pregnancy with low and slow HCG and progesterone at 5. I'm 6 weeks tomorrow technically.

So, among other things, I'll get tested for all the immunological problems although I have no other signs of it. I'll let you know how it goes.

Married to one of the last good guys left Jim
Mom to AJ 4/07 and Genevieve 5/09

And then: I'm really, really tired of making angels.

But wait, could it really be true?


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#8 of 10 Old 05-29-2013, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi All,

 

Thanks so much for jumping in and sharing your experiences! My latest is I had my second intralipid infusion, and will get retested next to see if the two infusions brought my NK cells down. We've been interviewing IVF clinics for a summer cycle, and talked to another one that does reproductive immunology, and their take on my NK cells was that they are "very elevated" vs. the "mildly elevated" interpretation we got from the clinic we're going to for intralipids. Interesting. They also recommended a different lab for testing, as the one we're using now (Rosalind Franklin) only tests the NK numbers, while this other lab tests the NK numbers as well as how they respond to intralipids (I believe they expose the NK cells to intralipids in a test tube and see how they react). We tried naturally this cycle and it's a good feeling to know that if we managed to conceive, the fertilized egg is at least safe from NK cells this time.

 

MichellyAqua12, does having Hashimoto's change your treatment protocol, or do you just take synthroid or a natural form of thyroid support? My thyroid issue is supposedly not autoimmune (I test negative for antithyroid antibodies), but my RIs tend to think of it as part of my autoimmune problem. I'm taking synthroid and have also added a transdermal iodine solution (Lugol's), but am not sure if that's actually doing anything. Can you tell me more about the HLA/DQ match thing? Neither of the RIs we've talked with seems to think we need to do this.

 

Asiago, thank you for the book recommendation! I have often wondered if part of my problem is adrenal function, which would explain an out-of-whack thyroid, too... I will check that out.

 

Xerxella, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, ((( hugs ))) to you. I've had quite a few myself in the last few years, it's really tough. How exciting that you're seeing Drs. KK and Coulan! I've heard wonderful things about Kwak-Kim on the Yahoo Immunology site. Please keep us posted on how that goes.
 


treehugger.gif Mama to 1 lovely DD,  angel1.gif 1/12 @ 8 weeks (ectopic), angel1.gif 1/14 @ 7 weeks, many chemical pregnancies, TTC DH'S #1, my #2
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#9 of 10 Old 05-29-2013, 06:00 PM
 
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Quote:

MichellyAqua12, does having Hashimoto's change your treatment protocol, or do you just take synthroid or a natural form of thyroid support? My thyroid issue is supposedly not autoimmune (I test negative for antithyroid antibodies), but my RIs tend to think of it as part of my autoimmune problem. I'm taking synthroid and have also added a transdermal iodine solution (Lugol's), but am not sure if that's actually doing anything. Can you tell me more about the HLA/DQ match thing? Neither of the RIs we've talked with seems to think we need to do this.

 

No, it doesn't change my treatment protocol (I'm on Armour because my endocrinologist thinks I need T3 in addition to T4). It's just that having one or more autoimmune conditions (I have 3), you're more likely to have immune system infertility - elevated NK cells being a common one with Hashi's. That's why I had some testing done.

 

This is info I got about RI from another website (PM'd you the link):

 

"It is hard to know whether one has immune system problems. Sometimes there are obvious signs like repeated miscarriages or failed transfers of good embryos on IVFs. Lot of times it is just the intuition that there is something wrong in that area. Things to consider are family history of autoimmune problems, miscarriages that happen earlier and earlier or few miscarriages followed by no implantation at all as well as having no positive pregnancy tests at any point. Any of those can be due to immune system issues. The immune system issues can either prevent implantation altogether or cause repeated pregnancy loss. Immune system issues can also cause ectopics as the embryos have an easier time implanting in the tubes where the inflammation and/or high NK cell activity are not present.

There are two types of immune system issues: autoimmune and alloimmune issues. Autoimmune issues are common when either the woman or her family has other autoimmune issues. Other autoimmune illnesses are for example:
- endometriosis,

- adenomyosis,

- thyroid problems,
- celiac disease,
- eczema,
- allergies,
- asthma,
- autism etc.

 

Alloimmune problems mean that there is a close match with the partner and the body rejects the embryo for this reason."

 

HLA and DQ alpha matches fall in the alloimmune category. Unfortunately I don't know much about them, just that it's not good if you and your husband have too many matches, and the issue is treated with Neupogen. I do know someone who had recurrent miscarriages for this reason, so it's probably a good idea to get checked for this just in case, but obviously I'm not a doctor. Maybe ask the RI why they didn't do it? Oh, and FYI, you can have both autoimmune and alloimmune issues - the person I mentioned has Hashi's and some other RI issues I think, so it's good they didn't just assume it was autoimmune.

 

Quote:
Asiago, thank you for the book recommendation! I have often wondered if part of my problem is adrenal function, which would explain an out-of-whack thyroid, too... I will check that out.

 

Asiago, I'm going to look up that book too, as my endocrinologist suspects I have adrenal issues.


27 y/o, TTC 3.5 years with PCOS, Hashimoto's, elevated NK cells, and severe MFI. IVF postponed indefinitely while trying to stabilize thyroid.
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#10 of 10 Old 06-04-2013, 06:41 AM
 
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I'm very interested in this discussion! I have endometriosis so I know that puts me at higher risk of other autoimmune issues, and I recently had a miscarriage. I'm hoping to get testing for some of the common autoimmune stuff soon, particularly antiphospholipid antibodies. Unfortunately a lot of these tests and treatments are considered experimental (for example NK cells) and my fertility clinic will not do experimental treatments which is a bit frustrating.

Me (32), married to DH (35)

3 years of TTC #1, M/C @ 6wks in May 2013 angel1.gif
Mom to Liliana born May 8 2014 bfinfant.gif
mdcblog5.gif www.babythehardway.com

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