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Endometriosis, fertility and pregnancy
If you have endometriosis, you’ve probably asked yourself the question, “Will endometriosis affect my ability to get pregnant?”
Endometriosis does not necessarily cause infertility but there is an association with fertility problems, although the cause is not fully established. Even with severe endometriosis, natural conception is still possible.
The main factor affecting fertility is a woman’s age, as a woman is born with her lifetime supply of eggs to undergo maturation for fertilization. Fertility rapidly declines after the age of 38, due to the rate at which egg sacs disappear from the ovaries accelerating and increased rates of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities.
How could endometriosis affect my ability to get pregnant naturally?
As the severity of the endometriosis increases, scar tissue (adhesions) become more common and the chance of natural conception can decrease. There is an association between infertility and endometriosis, but the cause has not been fully established. Minimal to mild endometriosis sufferers have an almost normal chance of conception but some sufferers are infertile for unclear reasons. In cases of moderate and severe endometriosis chances of natural conception are reduced. This is because there are more adhesions that can trap the egg and stop it from moving down the Fallopian tube.
Can drug treatment help improve fertility?
Drug treatments have not been found to improve fertility. However, the removal of cysts, adhesions and nodules during surgical treatment has been found to increase chances of conception. Some women find that complementary treatments help; however, there is no scientific evidence of this and it varies from individual to individual.
What fertility treatment options are available for women with endometriosis?
There are several fertility treatments options available for women with endometriosis. The suitability of the treatments depends on the severity of the endometriosis, the woman’s age, how long they have been trying to conceive and whether there are other fertility factors. Treatment choice is usually tailored to the individual by their doctor.
If I get pregnant, will endometriosis affect my pregnancy?
Endometriosis can cause delay in getting pregnant, but once you are pregnant, pregnancy is expected to be no different from normal. There are reports of women who had more pain in the first few months of pregnancy. In general, pain improves, but may return after giving birth as periods return.
To learn more about specific fertility treatment options and more information about endometriosis and fertility, please download our Endometriosis, Fertility and Pregnancy Information Pack
Endometriosis and Fertility Webinars
In this webinar, we are joined by Dr Daphne Chong, Subspecialist Fellow in Reproductive Medicine & Senior Specialist Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Dr Chiara Achilli, Consultant Gynaecologist with special interest in Reproductive Medicine, from the Hewitt Fertility Centre at Liverpool Women's Hospital.
Mr Dimitrios Mavrelos, Consultant in Reproductive Medicine at UCLH, presents information on endometriosis and fertility.
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