I'm hoping to have children, but I was just diagnosed with endometriosis. Can I still get pregnant?
Many women with endometriosis can get pregnant — though endometriosis can make getting pregnant more difficult. Up to one-half of women with endometriosis may have trouble conceiving. But with treatment, mild to moderate endometriosis shouldn't stop you from having a baby.
Evaluating your infertility
If you've tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant, your doctor will help you decide your next steps. First, you'll have an evaluation that determines whether there's something besides endometriosis affecting your fertility. Other factors can include:
- Problems with producing and releasing an egg (ovulation)
- Uterus abnormalities
- Cervix abnormalities
- Sperm abnormalities in men
Medications commonly used to manage endometriosis, such as hormones, don't necessarily improve fertility. Your doctor might suggest surgery to:
- Ease pain
- Understand how advanced your endometriosis is
- Remove excess endometrial tissue growth that might block sperm from reaching the egg
Assisted reproductive therapy
If conservative surgery doesn't work or you have severe endometriosis, your doctor might recommend assisted reproductive therapy (ART). These fertility treatments include:
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI). This procedure uses a long, narrow tube to insert collected sperm inside the uterus. Sometimes, doctors perform IUI after a course of drugs that stimulate ovulation. This can increase your chances of getting pregnant.
- Superovulation. This therapy involves medications that stimulate the egg production. When combined with IUI, it can help treat endometriosis-related infertility.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF). In this procedure, a doctor retrieves egg and sperm samples from the couple. Then, the samples are joined together in a laboratory, where they form an embryo. There's another procedure to implant the embryo inside the uterus.
If you have endometriosis and want to have a baby, talk to your doctor about your options. Doctors sometimes advise women with endometriosis not to delay having children because the condition may worsen with time.
April 03, 2018
Shannon K. Laughlin-Tommaso, M.D.
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