While steroids are increasingly used to treat infertility in women suffering from repeated IVF failure and recurrent miscarriage, they can actually interfere with embryo implantation, and may have harmful effects on pregnancy and the child, says a study.”Our main message to clinicians and to women hoping to achieve pregnancy is that they should be focused on achieving good-quality pregnancy and the life-time health of the child, not just getting pregnant,” said lead researcher Sarah Robertson, Professor at Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide in Australia. “Corticosteroids such as prednisolone may impair healthy pregnancy, which may lead to poorer long-term outcomes for the baby,” she noted. Many women receive corticosteroids in the belief that reducing immune cells called “natural killer” cells will facilitate a pregnancy. However, this belief is mistaken, as despite their alarming name these cells are actually required for healthy pregnancy. There is a great deal of medical and consumer misunderstanding about the role of the immune system in fertility and healthy pregnancy, Robertson said.”Steroid drugs such as prednisolone act as immune suppressants, preventing the body’s immune system from responding to pregnancy. But by suppressing the natural immune response, these drugs may lead to further complications,” Robertson explained.