How to Get Pregnant With Endometriosis
Don’t be discouraged if you have been diagnosed with endometriosis and plan to become pregnant. While endometriosis can cause infertility when uterine tissue grows into other areas of the body, there are options to improve your chances of becoming pregnant, if needed. Seeking the guidance of a gynecologist who specializes in diseases of female reproductive organs is the first step.
Let Nature Take its Course
Your doctor will most likely advise that you try to conceive naturally for at least six months. When this method is not successful, there is hope you can have children through alternative options to enhance fertility.
The Office of Women’s Health explains fertility complications caused displaced uterine tissue in endometriosis 1. The migrating tissues bleed, causing swelling and pain. Expansion can block the fallopian tubes and cover the ovaries to cause cysts, form scar tissue and adhesions that bind organs together to cause infertility.
According to Webmd.com laparoscopic surgery is often the first recommendation to improve chances of pregnancy 2. The National Institutes of Health states that endometriosis patches make it difficult for sperm to reach the ovary, as well as inhibiting a fertilized egg from reaching the uterus 3. Abdominal inflammation disrupts ovulation and fertilization. Also, the endometrium may not properly develop, preventing embryos from attaching to the uterus. A laparoscopy allows a surgeon to see the patches by inserting a laparoscope -- a small viewing instrument with a light -- into the abdomen through a small incision. He then has the option to remove the patches if necessary to improve fertility.
In Vitro Fertilization
Multiple laparoscopy procedures can reduce ovarian function, as well as inhibit the possible success of another hopeful option -- in vitro fertilization (IVF). If you are unable to become pregnant after a laparoscopy treatment, consider IVF for conceiving. Through this procedure, sperm and eggs are combined in a laboratory to make an embryo, which is then re-located into the uterus.
The National Institutes of Health describes the general process: Prescribed hormones trigger a woman’s body to produce many eggs at one time. Mature eggs are then collected and fertilized by sperm in a laboratory dish. Fertilized cells are incubated and develop into embryos in 3 to 5 days. The embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus, with the hope that pregnancy will occur in approximately two weeks.
Reason to Hope
It may be comforting to know that you are not alone. The Endometriosis Research Center states that more than 5 million women in the United States share this condition. Endometriosis.org says 60 to 70 percent of women with the condition are fertile 3. Half of women who have difficulty conceive successfully with or without treatment.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: The Office of Women's Health: ePublications: Endometriosis
- WebMD: Infertility and Reproduction Health Center: Infertility and Reproduction Guide: Laparoscopic Surgery for Endometriosis
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: National Institutes of Health: A to Z Topics: Endometriosis: Condition Information: What are the Treatments?
- Endometriosis.org: Resources: Articles: Myths and Misconceptions in Endometriosis
- Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images