For women, is there any connection between hypothyroidism and infertility?
Answer From Jani R. Jensen, M.D.
There is sometimes a link between hypothyroidism — when you have an underactive thyroid gland — and infertility in women.
With hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of certain important hormones. Low levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with the release of an egg from your ovary (ovulation), which impairs fertility. In addition, some of the underlying causes of hypothyroidism — such as certain autoimmune or pituitary disorders — may impair fertility.
For women, treating hypothyroidism is an important part of any effort to correct infertility. If infertility remains after hypothyroidism has been corrected, other interventions to treat infertility may be needed.
If you have hypothyroidism and hope to become pregnant, work with your doctor to make sure your hypothyroidism is under control. Seek additional help from an infertility specialist if needed.
If you have hypothyroidism and become pregnant, tell your doctor promptly. Close monitoring of your thyroid hormone level during pregnancy can promote normal fetal development and reduce the risk of miscarriage.
April 26, 2016
With Mayo Clinic fertility specialist
Jani R. Jensen, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Surks MI. Clinical manifestations of hypothyroidism. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 24, 2016.
- Feldthusen AD, et al. Impaired fertility associated with subclinical hypothyroidism and thyroid autoimmunity: The Danish General Suburban Population Study. Journal of Pregnancy. 2015;2015:132718.
- Jameson JL, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease during pregnancy. In: Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Saunders; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 24, 2016.
- AskMayoExpert. Hypothyroidism. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
- AskMayoExpert. Female infertility. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.