Vitamin D deficiency a strong factor in failed pregnancies, warn doctors
Bourn Hall Fertility Centre Dubai bring happiness in the lives of a young Filipino couple suffering from infertility for six years
- An increasing number of young couples facing infertility
- Almost 30 to 40 percent of infertility cases are unexplained, showing no obvious signs of health issues
- Low vitamin D level, PCOS, among the biggest contributing factors; couples opting for IVF need to be in an optimal state of vitamin D, advises doctors
- In the UAE, more than 90 percent of residents are vitamin D deficient
24th September, 2017, Dubai UAE: When 25-year-old Josephine Peralta and her 28-year-old husband started planning a family, they never imagined that it would take them six years of continuous struggle to achieve their dream. On the outset, the young couple had no reason to doubt their fertility health; however, they soon found out that Josephine had low Vitamin D levels and PCOS, along with hypothyroidism. After various failed treatments – which included herbal medicines, acupuncture and IUI – they eventually decided to opt for In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) at Bourn Hall Fertility Centre, Dubai. First IVF later at the age of 31, Josephine gave birth to a baby girl.
“Infertility in young couples has become a growing phenomenon, and we’re seeing many people below the age of 30, who are opting for Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ARTs)” said, Dr Shazia Magray, Specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology at Bourn Hall Fertility Centre, Dubai, who treated the Peraltas. “Almost 30 to 40 percent of infertility cases are unexplained, since there is no obvious cause. But among the causes that can be diagnosed, we’ve found Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome (PCOS) to be quite significant, since it has a direct impact on the quality of eggs.”
Dr Shazia added: “However, another big contributing player that most people are unaware of is vitamin D deficiency, which results in poor reproductive forecast both in cases of natural conception and assisted reproductive technology.”
Several studies have forged a strong relationship between vitamin D deficiency and infertility, particularly with respect to IVF failure. The active form of Vitamin D – calcitriol – not just controls the oestrogen content in a woman, but many other genes that are involved in embryo implantation. Moreover, the vitamin helps in fighting infections during pregnancy. Vitamin D supplementation also contributes to egg cell maturation in women affected by PCOS while its deficiency worsens the hormonal imbalance, making them prone to miscarriage. Lack of vitamin D can result in complications, such as gestational hypertension and diabetes. Further, research data presented last year suggests links between poor semen quality, testosterone levels and vitamin D deficiency.
“Couples looking to start a family need to be in an optimal state of vitamin D, including those who are opting for IVF. Higher vitamin D levels in couples significantly improve the IVF rate of success compared to those with lower levels. Sufficient intake also helps produce high-quality eggs during IVF” stressed Dr Shazia.
In the UAE, more than 90 percent of residents are vitamin D deficient, as per International Osteoporosis Federation (IOF).
Dr Shazia also warned young couples to be on guard regarding their fertility health. If a woman is unable to get pregnant within a year of trying, she should consult a specialist, the doctor advised, adding that those who plan to delay starting their families should also take precautionary measures, such as egg freezing.
Appreciating the Bourn Hall staff, the Josephine Peralta thanked them for their care, personal approach and the bonding they created with her and her husband.
“The first time I cried happy tears was when I heard I was pregnant, and then again when I heard the sound of my baby’s cry,” she said.
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