Immunological testing is assigned after a consultation with a clinical immunologist if you have problems conceiving, repeated pregnancy loss, or pregnancy complications.
In difficulties to conceive and patients with repeated pregnancy loss, the immunological analysis includes blood and endometrial testing. After pregnancy is achieved, monitoring of immunological parameters is done on peripheral blood samples.
Immunophenotyping of lymphocyte populations, Treg cells, determination of CD34 stem cells; functional cell tests – for cellular activity and proliferation.
Serum immunoglobulins, complement fractions, autoantibodies.
Flow cytometric immunophenotyping of endometrial cells from biopsy samples.
Immunological testing in patients with implantation failure and repeated pregnancy loss
Infertility is often due to problems causing embryo rejection even before the most sensitive tests could detect pregnancy. About 15-20% of all pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion, and the risk for this is elevated after each subsequent miscarriage. The American Society for Reproductive Immunology states the five leading confirmed causes for spontaneous abortion:
- infections (1%);
- anatomical defects (5-10%);
- hormonal disturbances (20%);
- chromosomal defects (7-50%);
- immunological causes (50%), and about 15% of cases are unexplained.
Modern scientific research has found that about 80% of cases of unexplained infertility can be attributed to immunological factors, and new therapeutic approaches promise over 80% of these cases a chance to carry the pregnancy to term.
Immunological problems are part of the environmental factors for sustaining a pregnancy. The chance for a successful pregnancy largely depends on the intricate interplay of complex immunological dispositions, aiming at transforming the uterus into a supportive environment for sustaining embryo development, the growing foetus, and the placenta. Sometimes though, these immune mechanisms can turn wrong. Depending on when and how it happens, the woman may lose the pregnancy or have difficulty conceiving spontaneously or following an IVF.