13:45 26 October 2010
Recent research carried out by scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York has found that a womans blood type can affect her chances of conceiving.
The results published over the past week concluded that women in their 30s and 40s found it more difficult to have a baby if their blood type was O, the most common blood group in the UK.
With 44% of the population having type O, we look at the implications the study will have on a large number of women.
How can my blood type affect my fertility?
The research showed that there is a link between a womans blood type and the amount of a certain hormone she releases. The follicle-stimulating hormone, or FSH, helps the egg to develop as a follicle is a small round cavity in which the egg nests.
When a woman is ovulating, follicles with mature eggs will move towards the surface of the ovary, where it will be allowed to release the egg. The FSH is released by the pituitary gland, which is located within the brain.
It is thought that high levels of FSH can cause infertility or low ovarian reserve, which determines how many eggs a woman would have left after ovulation. If there are more than 10 units of FSH per litre of blood, then this is considered to be a significant indicator of infertility problems.
Will this affect how well IVF would work?
Previous studies have shown that blood type could affect your immune system, which is thought to also affect how well IVF treatment would work.
Having type O blood has been shown to somehow disrupt the work of the IVF. To be successful, the treatment needs to live within the body of the woman without being attacked by the immune system. Type O blood appears to carry out attacks on the IVF, therefore making treatments futile.
So, what if I have type O blood? Will I have trouble conceiving?
The research showed that women in their 30s were two times more likely to have fertility problems if they were type O than if they were type A.
Experts, however, have discussed the findings and commented that if the blood type of a person really determined how much difficulty they would have in having a baby, then age and the amount of children they had previously would not matter.
What about my eggs?
Born with around two million eggs, women slowly release these eggs throughout their lifetime, but it is thought that after the age of 37 this becomes more regular until the point of menopause, where she would only have 10,000 eggs left.
You can monitor how many eggs you have by using an ultrasound to check for antral follicle or by doing blood tests.
Can my blood type affect anything else?
Some believe that your blood type can be linked to everything from general health to certain diseases like cancer.
Over the past century, experts have found that blood type A can lead to an increased risk of breast, pancreatic or liver cancer, whilst men within this group can also face a higher risk of heart disease. People with type O tend to have better teeth, whilst also having fewer allergies.
It is also said that certain diets aimed at your blood type can help you to lose weight.
You can test what your blood type is by donating blood, routine checkups when pregnant or if you are awaiting surgery.
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