Anti Nuclear Antibody Screen (ANA)
Going through infertility treatment can be quite trying sometimes. There are dozens of different tests and a wide variety of treatments to consider.
Many women have anti nuclear antibodies in their bloodstreams, which makes pregnancy difficult. Having an anti-nuclear antibody screen could give you insight into your fertility difficulties.
What are Anti Nuclear Antibodies (ANA)?
Anti nuclear antibodies are cells that attack the nuclei of other cells in your body. Typically, your body creates antibodies to help fight against invading bacteria and germs in your body. This is how you fight off infection, colds, and other illnesses.
Sometimes though, your body can mistake your normal cells for invaders. Anti nuclear antibodies attack the nuclei (centers) of these normal cells. As a result, inflammation and illness can occur.
Types of Anti Nuclear Antibodies
There are actually over 100 different strains of anti nuclear antibodies. If you have anti nuclear antibodies, you may have a variety of different strains. Typical tests look for the most common strains of these anti nuclear antibodies.
Who Has Anti Nuclear Antibodies?
Some 5 % of healthy people actually have anti nuclear antibodies in their blood. These people have extremely low levels of the antibodies and therefore are not troubled by them. People with autoimmune diseases like Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes also tend to have high levels of anti nuclear antibodies.
Sometimes, people on blood pressure or heart medication also show high levels of anti nuclear antibodies.
Complications Caused by Anti Nuclear Antibodies
Small amounts of anti nuclear antibodies are entirely normal. These should not cause any complications. However, if you have large amounts of anti nuclear antibodies in your bloodstream, this can create problems. Because these antibodies destroy healthy cells, your body can suffer greatly if there are too many. Complications associated with anti-nuclear antibodies include:
- autoimmune diseases
- unexplained infertility
Infertility and Anti Nuclear Antibodies
Anti nuclear antibodies have also been shown to play a role in fertility problems. Many women who have high levels of the antibodies are unable to become pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term.
It is thought that anti nuclear antibodies cause inflammation in the uterus and placenta, contributing to miscarriage and implantation failure. These antibodies particularly affect IVF and ICSI treatments, with studies showing that women with high levels of anti nuclear antibodies generally have lower than expected pregnancy rates.