Hyperfertility and Too Much of a Good Thing

Let’s talk about a word that makes most women embarrassed to mention it once they’ve learned about it, especially when we all know someone who’s struggled to conceive: Hyperfertility.


What is hyperfertility?

Hyperfertility is a tentative medical diagnosis as of right now, where fertility can be too much of a good thing. It’s a twisted reality I’ve learned in the last two years.

We are familiar with women who hyperovulate – releasing more than one egg, more regularly than others – but now we’re learning there might be some women who get pregnant more easily than others because of the receptivity of their uterus, specifically their endometrial lining. Great, right? That’s one of the big hurdles in getting pregnant!

Except hyperfertility is a medical term used not for having lots of babies, but for losing lots of babies. The dreaded “bad luck” or “unexplained” recurrent miscarriages.


Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is defined as two or three miscarriages in a row.

Three losses or more in a row affects roughly 1% of the population, so not as common, though as I like to point out to people, “Only 1% of the world’s population is redheaded, but most of us know a redhead.” You likely know a woman who’s experienced RPL, even if she’s never shared that story.

There are several reasons RPL could be happening. Immune issues, blood clotting disorders, RH factor, and so on. But the current medical knowledge states that most, if not all, of unexplained losses are likely chromosomal abnormalities.


And that’s where hyperfertility comes into play.

A small study observed how the endometrial tissue of women of “normal” fertility and women with RPL differed. When exposed to chromosomally normal embryos, both groups’ endometrial cells “reached out” to help it implant. The endometrial stroma cells of the women with RPL, however, reached out for the chromosomally abnormal ones as well. So where most women wouldn’t even get pregnant, hyperfertile women’s bodies were still giving these unviable embryos a chance.


So what do you do about hyperfertility?

What happens when you are the one who keeps flipping that coin to the wrong side? You do the testing – the vials and vials of bloodwork. You do the laprascopy, the saline sono hysterogram, the hysteroscopy, etc. You get told everything is normal and that either it’s “bad luck” or maybe there’s just some undiagnosed condition, and you get thrown a laundry list of prescriptions to take “just in case.”

You dive fully into every niche forum you can find and learn about the “big” name doctors in the field that people spend thousands of dollars to see, desperate for that baby. Some move onto IVF. IVF with PGS/PGD (essentially, genetic testing) lets you select the chromosomally normal embryos to implant. Things get even harder when women do this, and still, they lose that embryo. That’s when you really get into the nitty gritty of how specific the endometrial lining might be – even the day of implantation can vary.


I’ve been down a lot of this road now.

Seven losses later (including a loss of twins), I’ve done everything from travel out of state to see specialists to spending lots of money on testing. I’ve had a doctor admit, “Yes, we do think hyperfertility is a thing. So in your case? Hyperfertility and bad luck.” We’ve spent months and months on supplements, lifestyle changes, and everything we can to see if maybe the plastic tupperware we used to use or maybe that one sushi roll is why I get pregnant when my husband sneezes on me, but we’re still no closer to a second child.

We recently learned about DNA sperm fragmentation, and how it’s a problem that always gets missed as the fertility world focuses on the woman, and lucky us – guess who ended up being a couple where both that issue and hyperfertility were present?


Moving forward.

But in the meantime, the moment I’m a day late I sigh as I take a pregnancy test, knowing what to expect. I have yet to be wrong. I go for my beta bloodwork and grimace as the phlebotomist excitedly comments on my lab requisition. I haven’t had a drink in months because I am almost always pregnant, it seems, and yet every other month brings a new phantom due date of the “baby who never was.” I’ve started joking I should inspect every condom with a magnifying glass, or maybe just never have sex again. The latter feels like less of a joke every time I add a new loss to the bedpost.

So as I’ve learned – yes, you can have too much of a good thing. But when the end goal is a baby, the best thing, do you ever stop flipping that coin?

Recommended next:

Sperm Health and 10 Things That Can Affect Fertility

On Not Holding Back Joy

23 Things I Wish Someone Told Me About Pregnancy After a Miscarriage

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  • Ugh, I know this feeling. So sorry you are experiencing this cruel heartache. My first 4 pregnancies were all early losses – chemical pregnancies, if you will. Baby #5 made it through the first ten weeks including that amazing 6 week ultrasound when you see and hear that amazing flickering heartbeat. I had a D&E with her complete with a tissue scan. No abnormalities. Not 1 of 13 tested possibilities. My doctor just said I don’t know. I then was pregnant again after 6 rounds of Clomid. Bring on the beta anxiety – bloodwork every 3 days for 2 weeks. But we had a heartbeat – my sweet little girl, now almost 7. In the next year after her birth, 2 more losses. Then what a surprise – baby # 9 stuck around and is now my sassy 2 year old. Due to my age I went on birth control and never missed a pill. So, imagine my surprise when #10 was made known – right before my 39th birthday. I turned 40 2 months ago and she’ll be 1 in September. I went from feeling like I had a toxic womb to absolute elation. My sis said maybe as I got older my body starting dumping eggs in a last effort before menopause. My doctor said maybe my body just waited to release eggs that weren’t poor quality. All I know is there is a God and he works in mysterious ways.

  • I feel like this was me, I had 4 unexplained miscarriages before I had my daughter. They said I had no problems getting pregnant; especially since the last pregnancy was conceived just 2 weeks after a D&C. But with no idea what was wrong I was put on all sorts of drugs when I was pregnant last, and I guess they helped because I have a beautiful 9 month old girl.

  • Oh, love. I know that feeling. I never found out whether chromosomal issues were a factor but I lost 5 babies before having my daughter. Early in the pregnancy with her, we saw a highly respected doctor (here in the UK) who has been pioneering treatment relating to natural killer cells. As I was pregnant already, we were unable to have definitive testing but he prescribed the simple and cheap treatment based on my history and the fact that the medication is proven as relatively safe. She survived the pregnancy and is a fit and healthy almost 3 year old. When I became pregnant again unexpectedly (I certainly know the ‘sneeze on me and I’ll get pregnant’ thing!) last year, I saw the same doctor and had the same treatment straight away and I’m delighted to say I have a beautiful 4 month old now. All totally anecdotal of course but possibly of interest at the very least!

  • After three miscarriages, my fertility doctor informed me I had unexplained infertility and possibly an undiagnosed and yet to be found condition. Fortunately, he also told me a special drug called Lovenox had helped other women with this issue. I figured, what have I got to lose? And boy, did I have everything to gain. Immediately after I had a positive pregnancy test, I started Lovenox injections daily. And now I have two beautiful and smart girls. Glad to know my condition has a name and is not just “unexplained”.

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