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Reproductive Immunology

Immune screening is an important and recent development in the field of assisted conception. It requires the woman to undergo a profile of blood tests that indicate the immunological environment within her reproductive system.

In order for successful implantation of the embryo and subsequent pregnancy, the environment within the female reproductive system needs to be in optimal condition. It is well accepted that some women overreact towards the embryos and this may result in unsuccessful implantation or early miscarriage.

The blood tests required are costly due to the specialised nature of this new technique. Some tests are sent by courier to the USA (Franklin Chicago University) for analysis. The results take approximately 2 weeks to return at which point a course of fertility treatment is designed specifically inline with these results to maximise the chances of pregnancy.

The link between immunology and infertilty, pregnancy and miscarriage is still relatively new and research is on-going. As a result, this treatment is contraversial and schools of thought between assisted conception specialists differ.

For a more indepth review of immune screening and its implications in fertility medicine please refer to the following websites:

The Alan E. Beer Center for Reproductive Immunology & Genetics

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Immune treatment 'cuts IVF failures'
BBC, 07 January 2002

Reproductive immunology is a new treatment available at only a few clinics worldwide.