Overcoming Endometriosis & Infertility: How IVF Can Help
If you have been trying to conceive for 12 months or more, and have yet to be successful, make an appointment with a doctor. You may have endometriosis, which is a very common female reproductive disorder. However, because it can be asymptomatic, you may not know you have it. Medical professionals are not entirely sure how many women are actually affected by endometriosis. What we do know is that of the millions of women diagnosed with endometriosis, approximately 30-40 percent of those women will have infertility issues. In fact, endometriosis is one of the three leading causes of infertility.
Fortunately, in vitro fertilization has been shown to increase a woman’s chances of fertility, allowing them to give birth to a baby of their own.
What is endometriosis?
The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium. For reasons that aren’t entirely understood, endometrium-like tissue can begin growing outside the uterus. Endometrium tissue has been found growing on the exterior of the uterus, in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, pelvis and bowels.
Each month, when your period is due, this lining begins to thicken and soften. If a fertilized egg hasn’t attached to the uterine wall, the lining is shed as blood during your period. In the case of women with endometriosis, the extra lining has nowhere to go and no means of escaping the body. This can result in cysts and scarring, which make it more challenging for normal ovulation to occur.
Symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Excessive menstrual cramping
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- Chronic pelvic and/or lower back pain
- Painful ovulation
- Pain while having a bowel movement, especially during your period
- Difficulty conceiving
How can IVF help women with endometriosis?
When typical treatments for endometriosis aren’t successful, or if the scar tissue is impeding natural conception, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is proven to be effective at improving fertility for many women. During IVF, the sperm and egg are joined in a lab, ensuring that conception takes place. Once the resulting embryos are determined to be viable, one or more can be placed into the woman’s uterus. If all goes well, the embryo will implant and the couple will finally be able to enjoy the process of pregnancy, birth, and starting a family.
The first step is to find a fertility clinic. Once you have consulted with the doctor, the clinic will review your medical history, perform a thorough physical exam and determine whether IVF treatments are an option for you. If they are, you will begin hormone treatments designed to simulate ovulation so that your doctor can harvest multiple mature eggs. This increases your chances for viable embryos and a successful implantation.
IVF treatments are more successful than other forms of hormone therapy or laparoscopic surgeries when it comes to improving fertility rates. If you would like to learn more about IVF, and how it can help you overcome endometriosis–related infertility give RRC a call and schedule your consultation today!
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RRC has over 200 years of combined experience. As a leading reproductive health, infertility, and in-vitro fertilization (or IVF) center based in Kansas City, we're proud to have the highest level of expertise available to our patients.