Underactive thyroid – desire for children: problems and help

Martina Feichter studied biology with an elective in pharmacy in Innsbruck and also delved into the world of medicinal plants. From there it wasn’t far to other medical topics that still captivate them. She trained as a journalist at the Axel Springer Academy in Hamburg and has worked for NetDoktor since 2007 – first as an editor and since 2012 as a freelance writer.

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.

About ten percent of all cases of unfulfilled desire to have children in women are due to a thyroid disorder. Most often it is a hypothyroidism. Here you can find out what you can do to get pregnant and what is important in pregnancy.

Imbalance of thyroid hormones

In addition to numerous metabolic processes, the thyroid hormones also control fertility and reproduction. A hormonal imbalance – whether due to an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or hyperactive (hyperthyroidism) – affects egg maturation and the menstrual cycle. Cycle disorders and infertility can be the result.

Latent underactive thyroid: Desire to have children is often also unfulfilled

Many women have an elevated TSH level in their blood, but (still) normal blood levels in thyroid hormones. Doctors call this a latent underactive thyroid. Fertility problems can also occur and not only when a deficiency of thyroid hormones can be demonstrated.

Picture gallery: Is your thyroid healthy??

Christiane Fux studied journalism and psychology in Hamburg. The experienced medical editor has been writing magazine articles, news and factual texts on all conceivable health issues since 2001. In addition to her work for NetDoktor, Christiane Fux also travels in prose. 2012 Her first crime thriller appeared, and she also wrote, designed and published her own crime games.

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Hormone measurements and search for antibodies

The measurement of thyroid values ​​is one of them everyone Basic diagnosis for a patient who cannot get pregnant. The basal TSH value and the blood levels of the free thyroid hormones thyroxine (fT4) and triiodothyronine (fT3) are determined..

The doctor can also test the blood for antibodies to the thyroid gland. The detection of such thyroid autoantibodies (TPO antibodies or TAK) speaks for one Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This autoimmune disease causes chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland and is the most common cause of acquired hypothyroidism.

The examination results show the doctor whether and which thyroid disorder is the cause of the unwanted childlessness. If it is an underactive thyroid, he will initiate substitution therapy: the lack of thyroid hormones is compensated for by the daily intake of hormone tablets. If hypothyroidism is adequately substituted, women with hypothyroidism can become pregnant.

Underactive thyroid: Monitor pregnancy carefully!

In expectant mothers with hypothyroidism, doctors pay particular attention to careful monitoring of thyroid values. Pregnancy (and lactation) cause an increased need for thyroid hormones. Pregnant and breastfeeding women must therefore take a higher dose of hormonal tablets. Otherwise the lack of hormones increases the risk of complications. This includes

  • Preeclampsia (late pregnancy poisoning)
  • child malformations
  • delayed lung maturation
  • overall delayed child development
  • Miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth

Women with latent hypothyroidism also have to take thyroid hormones during pregnancy because the hormone requirement increases during pregnancy. A deficiency in the child could result in significant neuropsychological developmental damage and a permanently reduced intelligence quotient in the child.

Underactive thyroid: desire to have children in men

In strong sex, decreased sexual desire (libido) and impotence are among the possible consequences of an underactive thyroid. Fertility problems can often be solved in men, too, by substituting hormone deficiency.


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