Work to improve your fertility during International Thyroid Awareness Week 2014

25 – 31 May 2014 is the sixth International Thyroid Awareness Week and the British Thyroid Foundation (BTF), a patient support organisation, is partnering with its international counterparts to raise awareness of thyroid disorders that affect 1 in 20 people in the UK. Generally it is women who are diagnosed but men, children and even babies can be affected too. It is common for thyroid disorders to run in families.

'We want to raise the awareness of the importance of an efficiently functioning thyroid at every age' says Janis Hickey, Founder and Director of the BTF. 'This year we would particularly like to highlight the important role of the thyroid in fertility and pregnancy.'

Did you know that good thyroid function is key to getting pregnant and carrying a baby to term successfully and healthily? While couples may experience fertility problems for many different reasons, solving thyroid problems before conceiving is more important than you might think.

According to Professor Simon Pearce, Consultant Endocrinologist at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne 'Undetected thyroid problems can cause significant problems with fertility but are generally straightforward to correct once identified. Women who take levothyroxine should also make sure their blood thyroid levels are optimal before pregnancy as bodily thyroid hormone requirements increase very early on in pregnancy. Under-replacement during pregnancy is bad for both mother and baby, and most people need a dose increase in early pregnancy.'

If you have any concerns about your thyroid and fertility you should discuss them with your doctor. For further information about thyroid disorders please visit

  • If you have an underactive thyroid (or hypothyroidism) you may need to take a tablet (levothyroxine) which replaces the hormone your body isn't producing. This treatment could improve menstrual irregularities in women and sperm abnormalities and erectile dysfunction in men, thus restoring fertility.
  • If you have an overactive thyroid (or hyperthyroidism), treatment is tailored to the specific cause and may include medication, radioactive iodine therapy or surgery.
  • If you are pregnant and have any family history of thyroid disease you should ask for a thyroid test as soon as possible.
  • For women who have already been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid (and who already take levothyroxine tablets) they should consult their doctor as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed as they will probably need to increase the dose.
  • For women who are on tablets for an overactive thyroid, it is safe for them to continue taking them throughout pregnancy and during breastfeeding.


British Thyroid Foundation (BTF)

Second Floor
Suite 12, One Sceptre House
Hornbeam Square North
Hornbeam Park