Objective: Subfertility is frequently encountered among female rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and has been associated with disease activity and antirheumatic drugs. However, little is known about the results of the fertility assessments in these women. Our aim was to study the outcome of fertility assessments in subfertile women with RA.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed in a nationwide cohort of female RA patients who were pregnant or trying to conceive between 2002 and 2010 (Pregnancy-Induced Amelioration of Rheumatoid Arthritis Study). Patients who had given consent for future contact (n=260) received a questionnaire on reproductive history, fertility examinations, and fertility treatments. Medical files were obtained from attending gynecologists.
Results: A completed questionnaire was returned by 178 women (68%), of whom 96% had ended their efforts to conceive. Eighty-two subjects (46%) had at least 1 subfertile episode, and for 61 women a diagnosis for subfertility was available. Unexplained subfertility (48%) and anovulation (28%) were the most common gynecologic diagnoses, and both occurred more often in RA patients than reported in the general population. Women with unexplained subfertility more often used nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) during the periconceptional period. Seventeen percent of all pregnancies were conceived after fertility treatments. Fertility treatments had equal or higher pregnancy rates in RA compared to other subfertile populations.
Conclusion: Unexplained subfertility is more often diagnosed in subfertile female RA patients than in the general population, and is related to periconceptional NSAID use. Despite the higher incidence of subfertility in women with RA, the outcome of fertility treatments in these women appears favorable.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1002/acr.23124, hdl.handle.net/1765/100765
Journal Arthritis Care and Research
Citation
Brouwer, J, Fleurbaaij, R, Hazes, J.M.W, Dolhain, R.J.E.M, & Laven, J.S.E. (2017). Subfertility in Women With Rheumatoid Arthritis and the Outcome of Fertility Assessments. Arthritis Care and Research. doi:10.1002/acr.23124