1. What is the link between thyroid gland and infertility?

Thyroid disorders are common in females especially in child bearing age group. Infertility and thyroid disorders are seen in approximately 10 % of the population. It is essential to check for thyroid function of any couple who are planning their pregnancy to have a good outcome. Thyroid disorders account for a few cases of infertility and are mostly due to the under functioning of the gland which is also known as hypothyroidism.


2. How does thyroid affect fertility?

Altered thyroid function may affect both the sexes leading to infertility. Thyroid disorders may affect the quality of the sperm, menstrual irregularities and improper release of the ovum in the females. Hypothyroidism could lead to menstrual irregularity, elevation of prolactin (hormone secreted from pituitary gland, which can impair the ovulation) and impair the maturation of the released ovum. Occasionally the disease is associated with polycystic ovaries which could contribute to the infertility.


3. Am I going to be pregnant ever with the thyroid problem?

You will be surprised to know that the thyroid problems are common but not severe enough to impede your chances of pregnancy. You should check thyroid hormone levels and consult an Endocrinologist for the correct advice regarding the optimum value of the thyroid level. The doctor may sometime prescribe thyroid medicines because the normal values mentioned in your report may not be applicable for couples planning pregnancy.

4. What are thyroid antibodies?

The presence of autoimmune thyroid disease is evaluated by thyroid antibodies which are commonly known as TPO antibodies. This is usually done in females with recurrent abortions and infertility. There is no separate therapy for reducing the level of thyroid antibodies and the treatment is based on the associated thyroid hormone levels.


5. When pregnancy occurs?

If you become pregnant, enjoy the same and continue the thyroid medications as before. Please consult an Endocrinologist immediately, as your medicines may need to be altered in their dosing.


6. When to check for thyroid hormone tests?

Please get your thyroid levels checked, if you meet any of the following criteria

  • Inability to conceive for more than six months
  • Presence of thyroid disorders in family members
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Two or more miscarriages

This page is edited by Dr. KVS Hari Kumar who is a Senior Adviser in Medicine & Endocrinology, Command Hospital, Chandigarh (INDIA).