Fertility and Endometriosis
Endometriosis can compromise fertility in some women, though the reason is not always clear. Fertility is decreased in about 3 or 4 in every 10 women with endometriosis. If you’re planning on having a family, it’s a good idea to try ‘sooner rather than later’ (now considered to be before or around 30) but this always depends on life situations and circumstances.
In some cases of moderate or severe endometriosis, fertility can be affected because the pelvic organs are distorted with adhesions or infiltrative disease or the ovaries are damaged with endometrioma. Mild endometriosis can sometimes affect fertility as well.
The shock of infertility is distressing and can be hard on relationships. As well as the pain of endometriosis, there is the disappointment as each period arrives.
There are lots of things which affect male and female fertility and tests are usually recommended to identify the problems before any treatments begin. Fertility treatments often have very positive outcomes and will depend on lots of factors (age, smoking, weight, how long you’ve been trying and so on). Sperm quality and whether a woman ovulates each month and whether her fallopian tubes are open are factors affecting fertility. Couples can improve their own fertility chances by eating healthily and considering other options recommended by their health provider or fertility clinic.
- Surgery to remove (excise) the endometriosis and restore the anatomy back to normal improves the chances of becoming pregnant by about 40%. This surgery is best performed by a specialist gynaecologist with advanced laparoscopic skills. Getting pregnant in the first 6 – 12 months following surgery is usually recommended.
- Treatments such as IVF. This is where the egg is fertilized by the sperm in a laboratory and then placed in the uterus.
Medications for endometriosis do not improve fertility. They also take up valuable time because you can’t get pregnant while you are taking them.
Find out more about fertility in women and men in the book “Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain” Evans / Bush