Last week, you may have seen that EastEnders are running a story on endometriosis and fertility. Fertility is a sensitive issue for people with endometriosis, both for those who want to have children and those who do not. The Eastenders storyline highlights the importance of people with endometriosis having access to fertility services should they need and want them.
While endometriosis is associated with fertility problems, this is not the case for everyone; it is estimated that 60-70% of those with endometriosis can get pregnant naturally. While some treatments for endometriosis can improve fertility, there are others that can have a negative impact. You can find out more about endometriosis and fertility in our factsheet.
Endometriosis UK’s key demands in relation to fertility are:
- Doctors should always ask about concerns and desires around fertility
- Those who do not want children should still be afforded the same level of care and access to treatment for their endometriosis and symptoms
- Anyone undergoing treatment for endometriosis that may impact on their fertility should be informed of this and offered access to fertility preservation
- In line with NICE guidance on fertility problems (CG156 https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg156) where there is a known clinical cause of infertility (which includes endometriosis), earlier referral to a specialist consultation should be offered
In 2020, the APPG on Endometriosis conducted a survey of 10,000+ people with the condition and found that:
- 58% of respondents would have liked access to fertility treatment, but were not offered it
- Only 45% of those who had accessed or tried to access fertility services got an appointment within 6 months
- 20% of those who had used fertility services had paid privately because they were not offered NHS treatment
In addition, we were recently approached by Rhiannon Hurll, a 20 year old student from Kent who has endometriosis, who has set up a petition to the government addressing access to fertility preservation for people with endometriosis. Rhiannon’s petition can be found here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/579802.
Further support and advice:
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG): https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/patients/fertility/
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA): https://www.hfea.gov.uk/
Fertility Network UK: https://fertilitynetworkuk.org/
Baby loss charities:
Miscarriage Association: https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/