Blood Type Linked to Infertility? Not so fast.

April 8, 2014Carole No Comments »

I read a really interesting HuffPost article about a variety of infertility causes that you might not be aware of by Jena Pincott called, “Surprising Reasons You’re Not Getting Pregnant Right Away”.

It’s a fun read and I have talked about some of these issues before here –

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But the one that threw me was the suggestion that blood type- especially the most common blood type “O” was associated with infertility. Dr. Lubna Pal and his colleagues published the surprising result that the blood type O was more likely to be the blood type of women who were suffering from reduced ovarian reserve. Reference: Implications of Blood Type for Ovarian Reserve, published in the Human  Reproduction journal. 2011;26(9):2513-2517. FSH levels greater than 10 mIU/ml was defined as evidence of diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). They found that at their two study sites, women with blood type O were twice as likely to have these elevated baseline FSH levels compared to A or AB blood types. Patients with blood type B didn’t seem to correlate with increased FSH levels. They concluded that “The A blood group antigen appears to be protective for ovarian reserve, whereas blood type O appears to be associated with DOR, in a relationship that is independent of advancing age.”

We often find correlations that aren’t causes or can’t be replicated. Because two things appear more frequently together does not necessarily mean that one is a cause of the other. Would one really expect that the most common blood type would be associated with diminished ovarian reserve? Wouldn’t you expect that if blood type were associated with infertility, it would become a rarer blood type over generations of poorer fertility???

In any case, those of you with O type blood will be relieved to know that a more recent study was unable to duplicate these findings.

Association of blood type and patient characteristics with ovarian reserve. Timberlake KS1, Foley KL, Hurst BS, Matthews ML, Usadi RS, Marshburn PB.Fertil Steril. 2013 Dec;100(6):1735-9. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.08.027. Epub 2013 Sep 19. These authors concluded, “We observed no association between a woman’s blood type and DOR.”

So, of the many worries you have about what might be making it difficult to get pregnant, your blood type probably shouldn’t be among them.

© 2014, Carole. All rights reserved.

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