If you are suffering from unexplained infertility or recurrent miscarriages, it might be a good idea to undergo antiphospholipid testing. Antiphosholipid antibodies can sometimes interfere with your ability to maintain a pregnancy. Lupus anticoagulant (LAC) is a type of antiphospholipid antibody that is often associated with infertilty. Tests for lupus anticoagulant antibody are available from your reproductive endocrinologist.
What is Lupus Anticoagulant?
Lupus anticoagulant is a specific type of antiphospholipid antibody that exists in your bloodstream. It is actually a protein, which causes your blood to clot differently in your arteries and veins that it normally should. Along with anticardiolipin antibody, lupus anticoagulant is associated with increased risk of blood clots, which can lead to a variety of complications.
Effects of Lupus Anticoagulant
If you have lupus anticoagulant in your bloodstream, you could experience a number of side effects, including:
- irregular periods
- bleeding gums
- skin rash
In some cases, lupus anticoagulant can result in serious complications, inluding heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism.
Who Has Lupus Anticoagulant?
Lupus anticoagulant is generally found in a very specific population. It is most common in people:
- with autoimmune disorders, especially Lupus and HIV
- suffering from certain cancers
- taking phenothiazines, a class of antipsychotics ,
Strangely, 1% to 2% of the healthy population also have lupus anticoagulant in their bloodstreams.
Lupus Anticoagulant and Infertility
It appears that lupus anticoagulant does have a negative effect on infertility. Women with large amounts of lupus anticoagulant in their blood often suffer from blood clots in their placentas, leading to:
- spontaneous abortion
- recurrent miscarriage
The Lupus Anticoagulant Test
There is actually no one test used to detect lupus anticoagulant. Instead, a series of clotting tests are used to check for the antibody. The tests that are most commonly used include:
- the Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (aPTT)
- the Modified Russel Viper Venom Time (VPTT)
- the Platelet Neutralization Procedure (PNP)
- the Kaolin Clotting Time (KCT)
Each of these tests works to detect lupus anticoagulant by measuring the time it takes for a sample of your blood to clot in a test tube. If it takes longer than normal for your blood to clot inside the test tube, it is more likely that you have lupus anticoagulant in your blood.
Treating Lupus Anticoagulant
If you have high levels of lupus anticoagulant in your blood it is possible that this is interfering with your fertility. Medications can be taken to normalize the clotting process and, hopefully, restore fertility. Possible treatments include:
- baby aspirin