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MS Patients Who Undergo Infertility Treatments Have Higher Relapse Rates

February 4, 2016

Patients with multiple sclerosis who have undergone infertility treatments have high relapse rates, according to research published in the Annals of Neurology this month.

Researcher Dr. Jorge Correale from the study said, “When MS and infertility coincide, patients seek ART (assisted reproduction technology) to achieve pregnancy. Given the role of some reproductive hormones in autoimmune diseases, those with MS receiving infertility treatments are at particular risk of exacerbating their disease.”

The researchers analyzed clinical, radiological, and immune responses in 16 multiple sclerosis patients who underwent 26 ART cycles. The findings showed that 75% of patients receiving the treatment experienced a worsening of the disease and 58% reported a relapse within 3 months after the ART treatment. They also complained that their existing symptoms worsened as well.

It is important to note that there is no evidence to suggest that multiple sclerosis negatively impacts fertility, increases the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth, or leads to any malfunctions. While much research supports the fact that pregnancy reduces multiple sclerosis relapses, especially in the second and third trimesters, relapse rates skyrocket post-partum (the six week after delivery).