Can your blood type affect your ability to conceive and carry a healthy pregnancy? Should you be concerned? While blood type is not a common cause of fertility issues, it can play a role. Evidence finds incompatibility between blood types can influence fertility or pose miscarriage risk for a small percentage of couples. We want to help you become educated on the topic, and remember that blood type is just one factor involved in your journey to conception.
Blood Types 101
There are four main blood types: O, A, B and AB. Your genetic makeup and proteins on the surface of your red blood cells determine your blood type. If you have type A proteins, you are type A and so forth.
Type O is the most common blood type. Couples who are both type Os will have children who are blood type O. Parents who are both type As can have children with blood type O. There are also subgroups within the blood types, such as Rh positive or negative, which need to be taken into account when looking at a potential blood type issue.
How Does Blood Type Influence Fertility and Pregnancy?
We’re still learning about how blood type may impact fertility and pregnancy, but here’s what some of the research shows:
- Type Os and Egg Quality: A study conducted by researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that women in their 30s with blood type O who were struggling to conceive were twice as likely to have elevated FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels as women with type A blood. (Note: Elevated FSH is just one sign of declining egg health. So, consider learning more about FSH Levels and Fertility.)
- Type Os and Immune Response: Some fertility specialists speculate that type Os have an imbalanced immune reaction that could affect implantation, especially in IVF treatments. This could, in part, account for poorer IVF outcomes in women with type O blood.
- A-B-O Incompatibility: While many couples with different blood types have no problem conceiving, in a small number of cases it may pose a problem. A-B-O incompatibility occurs when the mother is type O and the baby is A or B (from the father). A research review published in the International Journal of Molecular and Cellular Medicine suggests that A-B-O incompatibility occurs in around 20% of pregnancies. Of those, only 20% are affected by thius, which can lead to newborn jaundice or possible miscarriage.
- Rh Factor: Rh factor is one of the blood groups’ subtypes. A person is either Rh positive or negative. Rh disease in newborns can occur if the baby is Rh positive and the mother is Rh negative. In these cases, the mother’s immune system reacts and passes on antibodies to the baby (usually during a second pregnancy) that lead to anemia or jaundice. A simple blood test during pregnancy can reveal whether your baby is at risk. Receiving preventive treatment with immune globulins (Rh shot) in early pregnancy can prevent Rh disease. Another shot may be administered after delivery and according to the American Pregnancy Association, “Rh-negative women should also receive treatment after any miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or induced abortion to prevent any chance of the woman developing antibodies that would attack a future Rh-positive baby.”
Positive Steps To Take If You’re Concerned
First off, try not worry! Remember that blood type is not a likely factor in most fertility problems. Other concerns like PCOS, tubal blockage or endometriosis, which can be addressed naturally, medically or through combination approaches, are far more common.
Many women who have type O blood go on to conceive, have healthy pregnancies and successful IVF treatments. Additionally, couples with “incompatible” (A-B-O) blood types often have no issues conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term.
However, if you’ve had struggles and are concerned, you can benefit from a natural fertility program. A natural egg health program is a good choice if you’re concerned about egg quality. It’s important that both partners quit smoking, avoid secondhand smoke, and discontinue poor dietary choices as these are more significant factors than blood type in declining egg and sperm health.
If you’re worried you have an immunological fertility problem related to blood type, keep your immune system balanced with a Natural Fertility Diet and consider immune-boosting herbs for support. Do your best to stay at a healthy weight, and choose regular, low impact exercise as part of any fertility program.
Regardless of your blood type, a healthy diet and lifestyle is critical for fertility, conception, and pregnancy. We may never be able to control every possible factor related to our fertility. However, we can take charge of the foods we eat and how we live, and that can make all the difference.
- Hagan, P. (2010, Oct.). Blood Group O Does Affect Your Chances of Having a Baby. Daily Mall. Retrieved from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1323793/How-blood-group-affects-chances-baby.html
- Hassanzadeh-Nazarabadi,M., Shekouhi, S., and Seif., N. (2012). The Incidence of Spontaneous Abortion in Mothers with Blood Group O Compared with other Blood Types. International Journal of Molecular and Cellular Medicine; 1(2): 99-104. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3920496/
- Scid V. J., Elies F.E. (2000). Immunohematological study of ABO hemolytic disease. Anales Espanoles de Pediatria; 53:249–52. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1695403300774522
- Rh Factor. (updated: March 2, 2017). American Pregnancy Association. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/rh-factor/
- Schwartz, R. (2017). All About Rh Disease. Parents. Retrieved from: https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/stages/1st-trimester-tests/all-about-rh-disease/