Blood Types and Fertility Problems
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 6.7 million women in the United States have infertility or problems with fecundity (ability to carry a baby). Among women ages 15-44 years, around 15% have problems with fertility. In around one-third of cases, infertility involves a male factor, and in one-third, it is caused by a female factor. For the other third of couples, the cause of infertility involves both the female and the male or the cause cannot be identified.
Can fertility problems be associated with the parents’ blood types? Four blood groups are determined by the absence of presence of two antigens on the surface of red blood cells (A and B).
These groups include:
- Group A – A antigen on red cells and B antibody in plasma.
- Group B – B antigen on red cells and A antibody in plasma.
- Group AB – A and B antigens on red cells and neither A nor B antibodies in plasma.
- Group O – Neither A nor B antigens on red cells but both A and B antibodies in plasma.
What the Research Shows
According to a new study conducted at Yale University and the Einstein College of Medicine found women who have type O blood had double the risk of diminished ovarian reserve than females with other blood types. These results were presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The ovarian reserve declines quite significantly as a woman reaches middle to late 30s and even faster when women are in their 40s.
The researchers evaluated 560 women under age 45 for levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which is a reproductive hormone. Women with an FSH level higher than 10 were considered to have a decreased ovarian reserve (fewer eggs). In the study, women with blood types A or AB were significantly less likely to have a high FSH than women with blood types B or O. In the U.S., 45% of the general population is type O, 40% is type A, 11% is type B, and 4% is type AB.
Regardless of current research, experts caution that the FSH method is not the most accurate for assessing fertility. It does measure extremes in egg reserve, but does not differentiate between normal and high. A better test of the ovarian reserve is the anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) test, which is a more precise value.
Current Research on Blood Type
According to resent research, blood type can affect health. Findings include:
- Women with blood type O are at higher risk for low ovarian reserve compared to women with other blood types.
- Blood types A, B, and AB are at greater risk for pancreatic cancer than blood type O.
- Blood type O is associated with less venous thromboembolism (blood clot) risk.
- Blood type O is linked to higher risk for gastric cancer.
- Blood type O has less risk for atherosclerosis and ischemic heart disease.
- Blood type A have higher risk for gingivitis, and blood type O has greater risk for periodontitis.
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