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Thyroid Diseases

Testing For Thyroid Antibodies

02/21/2007

Question:

I am a 40 year old female with more than a decade of unexplained infertility. When I was 20, I had my entire thyroid removed for cancer and have been on thyroid replacement hormone since then. I am now undergoing my first IVF cycle and had 6 very good quality embryos transferred last week. I know I`ve had regular TSH tests done with normal readings prior to starting the cycle but I`ve just been reading some research that relates to thyroid antibodies and negative effects on implantation. Is it possible to have thyroid antibodies if you are on thyroid replacement hormone and no longer have a thyroid gland? It seems that fertilization was not our problem given the high quality embryo development prior to transfer but I don`t know if I was ever checked for thyroid antibodies which could now be affecting implantation of the 6 embryos transferred. Any advice would be appreciated.

Answer:

It is possible to have anti-thyroid antibodies even if you do not have a thyroid. A simple blood test can detect them. Your endocrinologist has probably already checked for one kind of anti-thyroid antibody, called an "anti-thyroglobulin antibody" because it's presence can interfere with the blood test (called a "thyroglobulin") that your doctor uses to watch for evidence of recurrence of the thyroid cancer. The other anti-thyroid antibody is called an "anti-thyroperoxidase antibody" and can be measured with a simple blood test.

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Response by:

Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University