For women, is there any connection between hypothyroidism and infertility?
Answer From Yvonne Butler Tobah, 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.
June 13, 2019
Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Surks MI. Clinical manifestations of hypothyroidism. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 17, 2019.
- 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;2:533.
- Jameson JL, et al, eds. Diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease during pregnancy. In: Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 18, 2019.
- AskMayoExpert. Hypothyroidism. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2018.
- AskMayoExpert. Preconception care. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2019.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 148: Thyroid Disease in Pregnancy. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2015;125:996. Reaffirmed 2017.