Fertility Treatments in Women With Lupus

Lupus is a disorder of the immune system. It affects 23 million people in the United States. Most people with lupus are women. The disease tends to begin in people between the ages of 15 and 35.1

For years, women with lupus were told they should not get pregnant. Experts believed it was too risky for the mother and the baby. Today, research suggests healthy lupus pregnancies are possible.1,2

Lupus and fertility

Doctors once thought pregnancy with lupus was unlikely. This turned out to be false. However, it may take longer to conceive. Women with active disease may have a harder time.1,2

Fortunately, fertility treatments are available. A new study suggests they are safe and effective with lupus.3

New findings on lupus and fertility treatments

The study looked at 142 women with lupus who had assisted reproductive therapy (ART). Types of ART they had included:2

  • Ovarian stimulation
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Intrauterine insemination

All the women the study looked at had stable and controlled lupus.2,3

Over 10 years, the researchers found that:2,3

  • ART was effective. Nearly half of the women got pregnant through ART. There was a similar ART success rate in the general public.
  • Most of the women had healthy births. During the study, the researchers recorded 72 pregnancies. Sixty of these pregnancies (83.3 percent) ended with successful births.
  • ART did not increase the risk of complications. ART did not lead to more complications than natural, planned pregnancies. ART also led to fewer problems than unplanned pregnancies.

The most common problems the women in the study experienced were:2

The babies born premature were also likely to have low birthweights. The women's lupus flares were mild or moderate.2

Family planning with lupus

The new study offers hope to women with lupus who have trouble conceiving.

This or That

Has lupus impacted your family planning?

If you are struggling to get pregnant, talk to your doctors. Your rheumatologist can help assess how active your lupus is. Experts say your lupus should be under control for 6 months before getting pregnant. Some lupus drugs may reduce fertility. Your doctors may suggest adjusting these.1,4

If your lupus is well-managed, ART may be a good option. Your rheumatologist or obstetrician may refer you to a fertility doctor. This specialist will review your situation. They may also refer you to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. This type of doctor has extra training to manage health issues in pregnancy.1,4

If you become pregnant through ART, your care team will be key. Some pregnancies with lupus are high-risk. Your doctors can help you address any problems early. They can also tell you which medicines are safe to take while pregnant.1,4

With the right support, women with lupus may be able to overcome infertility and build the families they desire.

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Treatment results and side effects can vary from person to person. This treatment information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before starting and while taking any treatment.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Lupus.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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