Leukocytosis means your white blood cell (or leukocyte) count is above the normal range. These cells are the fighters in your immune system and defend you from disease. When leukocyte levels are too high, this usually points to infection or inflammation in the body.

This article has been verified by a medical professional

Impact on fertility

Leukocytosis is associated with lower pregnancy rates and IVF failure. And many potential causes for this condition, such as thyroid issues, infections, and obesity, can reduce female fertility.

A high white blood cell count in semen can affect male fertility too. If your male partner has leukocytosis, their sperm increases the level of oxidative stress in your body, which can stop an egg from becoming fertilized.

During pregnancy, it’s normal for the white blood cell count to rise. But if the leukocyte levels increase too much, this is closely linked to pregnancy complications, including miscarriage, preterm delivery, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes. A high neutrophil count (a type of white blood cell) in the first trimester is also associated with increased glucose levels and insulin resistance, which can raise the risk of birth defects.

Potential causes

Most cases of leukocytosis are due to a normal immune response, so it is often nothing to worry about. But there are other causes of a high white blood cell count, including:

  • Bacterial infections (including genital tract infections like chlamydia and UTIs)
  • Severe physical or emotional stress
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Dental cavities
  • Certain medications (f.e. lithium, corticosteroids, and beta-agonists)
  • Allergies
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Bone marrow disorders
  • Types of cancer, including lymphoma or leukemia
  • Pyosalpinx (buildup of pus in a fallopian tube due to pelvic inflammatory disease)


Signs of leukocytosis can signal an infection or a more serious health condition. They include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Trouble breathing 
  • Wheezing
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Rash


Doctors diagnose leukocytosis by checking your symptoms and doing a complete blood count (CBC). This lab test can also provide information on whether you have a medical condition or infection in the body. Sometimes people will need to do a bone marrow test and other exams to find out what’s causing elevated leukocyte levels.

Treatment to improve fertility

There are many treatments for leukocytosis, and your doctor will decide on the correct course of action once they figure out what is causing your high white blood cell count. Sometimes, no treatment is necessary, and your count will return to normal by itself. Most remedies cure leukocytosis within 2-4 weeks.

You will be prescribed antibiotics if a bacterial infection is to blame for your high white blood cell count. Evidence finds that treating genital tract infections with antibiotics significantly improves pregnancy rates and preserves fertility.

Antihistamines, anti-inflammatory medications, and IV fluids are further standard treatment possibilities. There’s also a procedure called leukapheresis, which healthcare providers perform to remove white blood cells from the blood. Medication for thyroid disorders restores hormonal balance in the body and boosts fertility.

To help keep your white blood cell count in a healthy range, here are some tips:

  • Practice relaxation techniques like meditation to manage stress levels
  • Wash your hands often to protect yourself from infection
  • Brush and floss your teeth daily

Get another blood test after treatment for leukocytosis to ensure that your white blood cell count is back in a healthy range to reduce the chance of complications during pregnancy.

This article has been verified by a medical professional

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