Thyroid disease and female reproduction

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2007 Mar;66(3):309-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2007.02752.x.


The menstrual pattern is influenced by thyroid hormones directly through impact on the ovaries and indirectly through impact on SHBG, PRL and GnRH secretion and coagulation factors. Treating thyroid dysfunction can reverse menstrual abnormalities and thus improve fertility. In infertile women, the prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) is significantly higher compared to parous age-matched women. This is especially the case in women with endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). AITD does not interfere with normal foetal implantation and comparable pregnancy rates have been observed after assisted reproductive technology (ART) in women with and without AITD. During the first trimester, however, pregnant women with AITD carry a significantly increased risk for miscarriage compared to women without AITD, even when euthyroidism was present before pregnancy. It has also been demonstrated that controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) in preparation for ART has a significant impact on thyroid function, particularly in women with AITD. It is therefore advisable to measure thyroid function and detect AITD in infertile women before ART, and to follow-up these parameters after COH and during pregnancy when AITD was initially present. Women with thyroid dysfunction at early gestation stages should be treated with l-thyroxine to avoid pregnancy complications. Whether thyroid hormones should be given prior to or during pregnancy in euthyroid women with AITD remains controversial. To date, there is a lack of well-designed randomized clinical trials to elucidate this controversy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / drug therapy
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Infertility, Female / metabolism
  • Menstruation Disturbances / drug therapy
  • Menstruation Disturbances / etiology*
  • Menstruation Disturbances / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications / metabolism
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted
  • Thyroid Diseases / complications*
  • Thyroid Diseases / drug therapy
  • Thyroid Diseases / metabolism
  • Thyroid Hormones / metabolism
  • Thyroxine / therapeutic use


  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Thyroxine