Ovarian reserve in women with sickle cell disease

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Background It has been proposed that ovarian sickling and/or iron overload in women with sickle cell disease (SCD) could contribute to gonadal dysfunction, but there are very few published studies. We hypothesised that the above phenomena might impair ovarian reserve. Methods A total of 50 SCD patients were case-matched by age, ethnicity, and presence of regular cycles (28±5 days) with 73 patients without a known haemoglobinopathy who required anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) assessment in a gynaecology clinic. SCD patients had AMH levels taken as part of routine care. The patients were case-controlled and matched with patients who had no haemoglobinopathy in a tertiary centre over a period of one year. Results The mean AMH in the SCD case group was 7.6 pmol/l compared with 13.4 pmol/l in the control group (p<0.001). The AMH distributions were subsequently categorised. This showed that SCD patients had a significantly higher chance of having lower AMH in comparison with the control group (OR 2.6 (CI 1.1–6.5, P = 0.02). The proportion of women with AMH > 20 pmol/l was significantly lower in the SCD group (6%) in comparison with the control group (19%) (P = 0.04). Conclusions This is the first study showing that women of reproductive age with SCD are more likely to have a low ovarian reserve at a younger age in comparison with patients with no haemoglobinopathy.




Kopeika, J., Oyewo, A., Punnialingam, S., Reddy, N., Khalaf, Y., Howard, J., … Oteng-Ntim, E. (2019). Ovarian reserve in women with sickle cell disease. PLoS ONE, 14(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0213024

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