Getting pregnant with endometriosis is possible but difficult. Up to half of the women with the disorder will struggle to conceive. There are medical options for endometriosis patients who want to get pregnant, but they are often complex and expensive.
This article discusses the causes and risks of infertility in endometriosis patients, as well as what can be done to help if diagnosed.
Endometriosis occurs when uterine lining tissues grow outside the womb. Symptoms include pelvic pain, cramps, heavy bleeding, bleeding between periods, pain with sex, and pain with bowel movements.
The exact cause of infertility in endometriosis patients varies. A number of factors can contribute. Some examples:
Ovarian cysts: Endometriosis can cause ovarian cysts. Unlike other ovarian cysts, endometriomas can cause infertility by preventing egg release from the follicle or passage into the fallopian tube.
Tissue overgrowth can cause adhesions. Adhesions are scars that occur between bodily tissues. This can prevent an egg from reaching the uterus or sperm from reaching the egg.
Pain during sex: One of the more common symptoms of endometriosis, pain during sex can reduce your chances of getting pregnant by preventing intercourse.
Trying Natural Birth
If you have endometriosis, you may wonder if it’s worth it to try to conceive before seeking treatment. The answer is yes.
Having endometriosis doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. Many women do, some with advanced disease.
Most experts recommend trying to conceive naturally for six months (rather than the 12 months recommended for other women). If you don’t get pregnant within six months, see a fertility specialist.
However, some women, especially older women, will go straight to a specialist. Infertility declines after 35. Those six months may be better spent with a specialist.
The most effective endometriosis treatment depends on your age, disease stage, infertility risk factors, treatment costs, and personal preference.
Intrauterine Insemination (Iui)
Fertility drugs alone are rarely used in endometriosis patients. They don’t help much compared to trying to conceive naturally.
Instead, women with stage 1 or 2 endometriosis usually start with IUI and fertility drugs. In IUI, sperm is injected into the womb during ovulation.
In Vitro Fertilization (Ivf)
If IUI fails, the next step is IVF (IVF). To perform IVF, the eggs must be removed, fertilized outside the body, and then reinserted. However, it is costly and invasive.
If a woman is over 35, has stage 3 or 4 cancer, or has other infertility risk factors, IVF may be used first (such as low egg quality or quantity).
The success rate of IVF in women with endometriosis is around 22%, similar to other forms of infertility.
Not all couples can afford IVF. Others simply cannot afford IVF. Adoption or surrogacy may be advised for these couples.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Women with severe endometriosis, advanced age, or multiple infertility risk factors may opt for IVF first.
Surgery And Fertility
The main goal of endometriosis surgery is to relieve pain. Besides relieving pain, surgery may help some women conceive.
Severe endometriosis does not seem to improve IUI or IVF success rates. Repeated surgeries can cause adhesions that complicate pregnancy.
However, some research suggests that removing excess tissue may help women with stage 2 or 3 endometriosis get pregnant.
Endometriosis surgery is used to treat pain and may help some women conceive. In pain-free women, it is not advised due to the likely small benefit.
If you are interested in more information on treatments, you can visit the fertility clinic Orange County.