New research has revealed that an under-active thyroid might be to blame for the struggles some women face when trying to conceive.
The study by Harvard Medical School found that ladies experiencing fertility issues were twice as likely to have a higher level of Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), in their bloodstream than those who had difficulties getting pregnant as a consequence of their partner’s low sperm count.
TSH is the hormone produced by the pituitary gland and stimulates the thyroid gland.
To reach their conclusion, Harvard Medical School analysed 187 women – 135 with unknown fertility problems and 52 who had male partners with severe infertility.
Despite still having regular periods, the women failed to fall pregnant between 2000 and 2012.
The new study is shedding a light on a potential cause for ‘unexplained infertility’
The study’s senior author shed light on the team’s discovery during an interview with Science Daily.
‘When couples who are ready to start a family are unable to conceive despite extensive planning, multiple doctor’s visits, and expensive treatments, it can be emotionally devastating’, Pouneh K. Fazeli, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston explained to the publication.
‘Since our study shows that women with unexplained infertility have higher TSH levels compared to women experiencing infertility due to a known cause, more research is needed to determine whether treating these higher TSH levels with thyroid hormone can improve their chances of getting pregnant.’
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According to the NHS, approximately 3.5 million people in the UK have trouble conceiving.
‘Around 1 in 7 couples may have difficulty conceiving. About 84% of couples will conceive naturally within a year if they have regular unprotected sex (every 2 or 3 days)’, their website states.
‘For couples who’ve been trying to conceive for more than 3 years without success, the likelihood of getting pregnant naturally within the next year is 25% or less.’