Fertility Issues

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kbja
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/14/2006 7:06 AM (GMT -7)   

Good Morning!

I am brand new to this site, and what I have read from everyone has been scary yes, but quite reassuring as well.

My husband was diagnosed with RA about a year ago. His doctor's have never told us the in and outs of what RA really is and how it affects your body. I admire each and everyone of you for your strength and also the ability to show your weaknesses. This site has been very comforting for me.

Our issue that we face now is fertility. We have been trying to conceive for approx. 6 months now, and we can't seem to get any direct answers whether or not the meds he as been on has had any direct effect on fertility. He has been on a slew of different meds, including Enbrel, methotrexate, Medrol, a several others that I can't seem to remember. He was on the MX for a short period of time at the beginning, and soon stopped it b/c of the obvious side effects from it. Within the last week, he has stopped taking all of his meds, and even though he won't admit it, is in unbearable pain. All for the sake of us getting pregnant. Does anyone have any info or guidance on what effects, if any, the meds may do to fertility? I would greatly appreciate any help anyone can give. Thank you so much for your time!

Also, the doctor is now trying to get him approved for Humira. Does anyone have any pros/cons of the Humira vs. the Enbrel? Thanks!


elcamino
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 1744
   Posted 2/14/2006 8:52 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi.  Welcome to this site.  I also have found the information here very useful and reassuring at times.  Having struggled with fertility issues for years prior to having my twin daughters, I can somewhat relate to your situation.  I was not diagnosed with RA at that time, but because fertility was an issue to me back then, it's something that I keep in mind now that I am taking arthritis medications.  I am female, and your husband is, obviously male, so I'm not sure about gender effects with these medications.  My rheumatologist wanted me to try methotrexate, but warned me that if I did I would have to use birth control.  If I conceived on methotrexate, I would either miscarry or have such a deformed baby that the doctors would beg me to abort.  Methotrexate, from what I understand, is often used to initiate abortion in pregnant females.  For that reason, I refused to take methotrexate.  The TNF-inhibitors (Enbrel, Humira, Remicade) do not affect fertility per se.  My rheumatologist said they would not interfere with my getting pregnant; however, once I was pregnant, I would most likely have to stop taking them--because they don't know what they would do to a fetus.  They are not as obviously toxic to a fetus as methotrexate.  I would encourage your husband to call his rheumatologist and ask about the TNF-inhibitors and sperm counts/motility.  Your husband shouldn't have to be in pain in order to conceive a child, and because RA can be so damaging, it might not be the wisest thing for him to be off his meds.  Since you're talking about the DMARDs only, I assume that your husband has tried NSAIDS and they have failed?  I believe there are some NSAIDS out there that would be appropriate for him to take and still conceive.  I think your situation is fairly positive because your husband is the one taking the meds--it would be a different situation if you were the medicated one.  In any case, your husband's doctor should know that you guys want to conceive.  He/she would be in the best position to answer your questions about fertility.

Elcamino


kbja
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/14/2006 11:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the info, Elcamino!  We have talked to his doctor about us trying to conceive, but we were told that isn't something that he deals with a lot, b/c my husband is one of his youngest patient's with RA.  We have talked with a nurse from Enbrel, and they just tell us that there haven't been studies done on humans and fertility...nothing really direct.  I think too that since we aren't sure about all of the ins and outs of RA, we are looking for a definite answer, and we have yet come to terms that there really aren't any "definite" answers anymore.  Congratulations on your twins!  What a blessing! 

CaMama
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1884
   Posted 2/14/2006 8:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi and welcome!
 
Methotrexate and sulfasalazdine (may be spelled wrong) I know for a fact effect fertility. You may want to see if you can get info from a fertility doctor - they might be more on the up and up on these things.  The TNF inhibitors are so new, I wonder how they affect men's fertility.  I know it also takes a few months for sperm count to go back up after the meds reduce it.
 
Good luck and keep us posted on your findings!
**
 


Ducky
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3199
   Posted 2/15/2006 5:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey kbja, Welcome to HW!  tongue    sad  I apologize for my tardiness in welcoming you to the site, however I see some of our other wonderful members have greeted you with open arms... Hhhhmmmm fertility and biologics... We just had another member post about the same thing, but she was asking for herself, not her spouse, so your case is a little different.... I agree with elcamino, I don't think your husband should be off his meds for long, nono but I understand why he is trying to play it safe... sticky situation we are all in....  :-) We have a the best nurses of this site and one in particular is a WEALTH of knowledge!  Her name is Erin and I'm sure she will be along shortly to give her 2cents... she has also been on Enbrel and Humira, so she will be able to maybe shed some more light on this subject for you... I wish you guys the best, and I hope you continue to keep posting with us!  Take care, and let us know what you decide! - Duck
Diagnosed January 2005 - Psoriatic Arthritis/Spondylitis
-Currently taking 50mg shot weekly of Enbrel
Diagnosed May 1998 - Graves Disease
-Complete Thyroidectomy September 1998 - While 11 weeks pregnant
Other Complications - GERD/Scoliosis/Hiatal Hernia/Graves Disease of the Eyes
Current Meds -  Enbrel/Prevacid/Synthroid
Past Meds - Inderal/PTU/Prednisone/Voltaren/Feldene/Mobic/Cortisone and Steroid Shots


kbja
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/15/2006 6:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Duck & CaMama for the added info/advice.  I had a talk with my husband last night, and with the info/advice that was given to me, convinced him to start his meds back.  THANK YOU!! That will be a lot of stress off of my shoulders!!  We agreed to give it 2 more months, and then go from there.  I will definitely let you know what happens! Thanks again...

Ducky
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3199
   Posted 2/15/2006 6:36 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey kbja, have you tried calling some of the nurses on the Enbrel or Humira Sevices? For Enbrel, it is the Enliven Services and they are always there, quite knowledgable too... just a thought, you may want to talk to them and tell them your concerns, they may be able to put your mind at ease a bit... good luck to you! - Duck
Diagnosed January 2005 - Psoriatic Arthritis/Spondylitis
-Currently taking 50mg shot weekly of Enbrel
Diagnosed May 1998 - Graves Disease
-Complete Thyroidectomy September 1998 - While 11 weeks pregnant
Other Complications - GERD/Scoliosis/Hiatal Hernia/Graves Disease of the Eyes
Current Meds -  Enbrel/Prevacid/Synthroid
Past Meds - Inderal/PTU/Prednisone/Voltaren/Feldene/Mobic/Cortisone and Steroid Shots


CaMama
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1884
   Posted 5/15/2006 9:08 PM (GMT -7)   
bump

 

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