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Thyroid disorders in pregnancy

I have Graves' disease and my GP told me that I may be infertile. Is that true? I am in my mid-twenties and am getting married next month.

Graves' disease is a medical condition when the thyroid gland becomes overactive and produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormones(hyperthyroidism).

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ situated at the base of the neck and in front of the throat. It releases hormones that play an important part in many bodily functions, including reproduction.

Together with the sex hormones produced by the ovaries, thyroid hormones balance and maintain the normal function of the reproductive system.

If the thyroid gland releases too much hormones, maturation of the egg and ovulation will be affected. This may result in irregular scanty periods, absent periods and infertility. Even if conception occurs, the risks of miscarriage and adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as high blood pressure in pregnancy, poor growth of the baby and premature delivery, may occur.

In men, hyperthyroidism can cause a marked reduction in sperm count and abnormal sperm motility, resulting in infertility. The sperm count usually returns to normal once the thyroid condition has been treated.

Since you have Graves’ disease, you should have it treated before embarking on the journey to parenthood. With treatment and careful monitoring during pregnancy, many complications can be avoided or minimised.

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