For women, is there any connection between hypothyroidism and infertility?
Answer From Tatnai Burnett, 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.
Tatnai Burnett, M.D.
June 22, 2021
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See more Expert Answers
- Dosiou C. Thyroid and fertility: Recent advances. Thyroid. 2020; doi:10.1089/thy.2019.0382.
- AskMayoExpert. Hypothyroidism. Mayo Clinic; 2020.
- AskMayoExpert. Preconception care. Mayo Clinic; 2020.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Thyroid disease in pregnancy: Practice Bulletin No. 223. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2020; doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000003893.
- Maraka S, et al. Subclinical hypothyroidism in women planning conception and during pregnancy: Who should be treated and how? Journal of the Endocrine Society. 2018; doi:10.1210/js.2018-00090.
- Alexander EK, et al. 2017 guidelines of the American Thyroid Association for the diagnosis and management of thyroid disease during pregnancy and the postpartum. Thyroid. 2017; doi:10.1089/thy.2016.0457.