Endometriosis and autoimmune diseases share a hyper-inflammatory state that might negatively impact the embryo-endometrium crosstalk. Inflammatory and immune deregulatory mechanisms have been shown to impair both endometrial receptivity and embryo competence at the implantation site. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential additional impact of co-existing autoimmunity in women affected by endometriosis on the early stages of reproduction. This was a retrospective, multicenter case-control study enrolling N = 600 women with endometriosis who underwent in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer cycles between 2007 and 2021. Cases were women with endometriosis and concomitant autoimmunity matched based on age and body mass index to controls with endometriosis only in a 1:3 ratio. The primary outcome was the cumulative clinical pregnancy rate (cCPR). The study found significantly lower cleavage (p = 0.042) and implantation (p = 0.029) rates among cases. Autoimmunity (p = 0.018), age (p = 0.007), and expected poor response (p = 0.014) were significant negative predictors of cCPR, with an adjusted odds ratio of 0.54 (95% CI, 0.33-0.90) for autoimmunity. These results suggest that the presence of concomitant autoimmunity in endometriosis has a significant additive negative impact on embryo implantation. This effect might be due to several immunological and inflammatory mechanisms that interfere with both endometrial receptivity and embryo development and deserves further consideration.
Keywords: autoantibodies; autoimmunity; embryo development; endometriosis; implantation; pregnancy rate; reproductive endocrinology.