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Infertility Treatments Unsuitable for Women with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Study Shows

Update Date: Oct 03, 2012 03:45 PM EDT

Women who have trouble getting pregnant are confronted with three choice: Adoption, surrogates, or infertility treatments; all of which are very expensive and time consuming, as are many business ventures willing to capitalize on the pain and suffering of others.

Since cost is a factor in all of these options, women must then relies on whether or not to have a child born genetically of you (further divided into whether a women prefers the feeling of pregnancy or are content with having someone else carry your baby) or whether you goal is to fuse altruism and motherhood with adoption.  

But perhaps most importantly, women then must cross reference the above desires with their health and if the later is a deciding factor in favoring one option over another. Perhaps she is cancerous or has HIV and therefore cannot risk having a child at the expense of becoming more sick or infecting the child, alternatively.

Now researchers say that women with multiple sclerosis (MS) who undergo assisted reproduction technology (ART) infertility treatment are at risk for increased disease activity,saying women with MS who are experiencing fertility issues should opt out of hormonal treatments.

The study which is published in the journal Annals of Neurology suggests that reproductive hormones contribute to the regulation and exacerbation of immune responses in autoimmune disease such as MS.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), MS affects 2.5 million individuals worldwide and is more common among women than men. Though women who have MS do not usually experience infertility problems, medical evidence shows sex hormones, such as undergoing ovulation, play an important role in the development of autoimmune disorders.

"When MS and infertility coincide, patients seek ART to achieve pregnancy," explains Dr. Jorge Correale with the Raúl Carrea Institute for Neurological Research in Buenos Aires. "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 study involved 16 MS patients with fertility problems receiving the procedural dose of 26 ART cycle treatments, 15 MS patients who did not receive any treatment and 15 healthy but infertile volunteers receiving treatment.

Results illustrated that "75 percentof MS patients experienced disease exacerbation following infertility treatment. MS relapses were reported in 58% of the cycles during the three month period following ART treatment. Furthermore, ART was associated with a seven-fold increase in risk of MS exacerbation and a nine-fold inc`rease of greater MS disease activity on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)," as revealed by a press report released by the Wiley Institute. The authors noted that 73 percent of exacerbation were new symptoms and 27% were attributed to a worsening of pre-existing symptoms. 

"Our findings indicate a significant increase in MS disease activity following infertility treatment," concludes Dr. Correale. "Neurologists should be aware of possible disease exacerbation so they may discuss the benefits and risks of ART with MS patients." 

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