Even though many people in our community know that untreated celiac can cause infertility issues for some people, the infertility industry is just now recognizing this as fact. Most fertility clinics in the U.S. don’t routinely test patients for celiac yet, but that might change as more people go in and ask to be screened for celiac. The reason more and more people are being diagnosed with celiac in the U.S. now is not because the average doctor thinks to test patients for celiac. It’s because people go in and ask to be tested for it.
Patients at fertility clinics in many other countries are screened for celiac as part of the normal protocol. Doctors want to rule out known conditions that are related to fertility issues – like celiac disease. U.S. centers haven’t been quick to recognize the connections between celiac and infertility. After all, there is not a lot of money to be made by a fertility clinic if they prescribe a gluten-free diet to patients in order to help them get pregnant. There is however, a lot of money to be made by treating patients with expensive fertility treatments.
It’s not uncommon in the U.S. for people to be told by fertility specialists that there is no relationship between infertility issues and untreated celiac. We can only hope that coverage in the mainstream media about the very real connection between fertility issues and untreated celiac will continue to spread in mainstream society. Some people are going to have to demand to be tested for celiac until they find someone to do the tests. Many doctors are still resisting celiac testing for their fertility patients.
It would be fantastic is we started hearing more stories about happy couples being able to get pregnant after one of them was diagnosed with celiac and started the gluten-free diet. Many such stories are out there for sure, but not many of them are talked about in the mainstream media. I think this topic would be wonderful for a GMA or Today Show segment. Think of all the fertility segments you’ve seen on such shows or other shows. Do you ever remember a fertility expert bringing up celiac and explaining that some people simply can’t conceive because they’re not on the gluten-free diet? I think Peter Green threw it out in a list of symptoms on the Dr. Oz show, but no detailed conversation followed.
Thankfully, Dr. Green’s team at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University is now working with fertility experts in the U.S. to further educate doctors in that field about the condition. Some experts believe that some cases of “unexplained infertility” might have a very good explanation after all. The celiac disease page on the NIH website includes infertility under “Possible Complications” of the condition. For more details about the connection between untreated celiac disease and infertility issues, read this informative article on the NFCA website.
Oprah’s last season starts today. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if she finally did a proper show (meaning the panel would include actual informed celiac experts and dietitians and not celebrities) about celiac disease once and for all? Now that would definitely be something to celebrate!