Fertility Options for Women with Endometriosis
In recent years, endometriosis has become increasingly visible to the public eye. Although the condition is still frequently misunderstood and misdiagnosed, women are now getting more answers than ever before. Along with gaining increased visibility, the collective public has become much more aware that endometriosis can play a significant role in female infertility. It’s estimated that between 30% and 50% of women with infertility have endometriosis.
Infertility and endometriosis are both conditions that, on their own, can cause feelings of isolation and sorrow in the women who are afflicted with them. When you combine the stigma of infertility with the frequent misconceptions about endometriosis, it can feel like you’re fighting a battle all on your own and that your hopes for having a child are close to impossible. However, thanks to assisted reproduction, there are actually several fertility treatment options that can potentially help women with endometriosis achieve their dreams of having a family.
Understanding the Link Between Endometriosis and Infertility
Endometriosis happens when the uterine lining, also known as endometrial tissue, grows outside the uterus. This abnormal tissue growth typically appears throughout the reproductive system and pelvic region, most notably the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bowels. The condition can cause lesions, scar tissue, and inflammation, all of which can negatively impact the structure, function, and balance of the reproductive system. Because endometriosis manifests differently in each patient, different patients require different courses of treatment.
Endometriosis and In Vitro Fertilization
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most common courses of treatment for endometriosis-related infertility. It is most often recommended for women whose fallopian tubes have been obstructed by endometrial tissue. The endometrium prevents an egg from traveling from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes, where it normally would combine with a sperm in traditional conception. Using IVF, eggs can be retrieved directly from the ovaries and then fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. Once a viable embryo has been produced, it’s ready to be implanted in the uterus.
Egg Freezing and Fertility Preservation
Fertility preservation is a form of assisted reproduction that allows people to take advantage of fertility when they are younger and save it for future use. For women, this is done through egg freezing. This can be a great option for women with endometriosis who aren’t ready to have a child yet.
While the prognosis of endometriosis in any given individual can be difficult to predict, the condition tends to progress in severity as women get older. If the endometrial tissue reaches the ovaries, it can impact a woman’s ovarian reserve in terms of egg quantity and quality. Freezing your eggs before this happens can make it possible for you to get pregnant using your own eggs later in the future.
Third Party Reproduction and Endometriosis
In some severe cases of endometriosis, women are unable to produce viable eggs and/or safely carry a pregnancy to term. While these circumstances can make it seem having a child is impossible, third party reproduction can still help someone create or grow a family. It’s not uncommon for women with endometriosis to use the assistance of an egg donor and/or a surrogate in order to have a child.
While endometriosis-related infertility can understandably make you feel your dreams of having a family are out of reach, there are actually several options available to you. To learn more about the various treatment options available for people affected by endometriosis, contact Aspire Fertility today.