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Does etanercept affect fertility, pregnancy or breastfeeding?

If you're planning to try for a baby, if you become pregnant, or if you're thinking of breastfeeding we suggest you discuss your medications with your rheumatologist.

Current guidelines state that etanercept can be used during pregnancy and in men trying to father a child. If it's used during pregnancy it will usually be stopped after about six months. If it's used after this, then it's possible (though not proven) that it may increase the risk of infection in the newborn baby. However, if there's concern that your arthritis may flare up if etanercept is stopped then you can continue with it throughout your pregnancy – in this case, your baby should not have any live vaccines (such as BCG) until they're seven months old.

Women who are also on methotrexate should stop taking it and use contraception for at least three months before trying for a baby. Current guidelines state there's no need for men to stop methotrexate when trying to father a baby.

There's only limited information about the use of etanercept in breastfeeding mothers, but we have no evidence that it's harmful. If you were also taking methotrexate before your pregnancy this should not be re-started until you stop breastfeeding.

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