Multiple Sclerosis and Fertility: What's the Relationship?

OCTOBER 08, 2015
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick
Katarina Fink, an associate in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and colleagues analyzed the influence that multiple sclerosis (MS) has on a woman’s fertility – an area that has remained unclear. The findings will be described in a poster session at the 31st Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS 2015) in Barcelona, Spain.

MS causes inflammation in the central nervous system and is two to three times more likely to affect women than men, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The chronic condition may influence if a woman decides to become pregnant, but it is also hypothesized that the inflammation may affect their fertility.

The team looked at data from the 2,725,485 women between the ages of 20 and 64 living in Sweden in 2010. The information gathered from the National Patient Register revealed that 9,947 of the women had MS.

“Women with MS were less often pregnant (estimated marginal mean: 1,274 pregnancies per woman) than women without MS (1,299 pregnancies per woman), p= 0,037,” the researchers pinpointed.

Although there were less pregnancies from women with MS when compared to the general population, it was a small difference and there could be a number of explanations. The team plans to investigate the influence of disease severity, interference of MS treatments, loss of partners, reduced fertility, etc. to gain further insight.


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