Struggling to conceive?
Falling pregnant and having a healthy risk-free pregnancy is possible for those living with endometriosis, although it may not always be easy. Some people may find it takes them longer than average to get pregnant, whereas others might need a little help along the way.
As well as pelvic pain and a whole host of debilitating symptoms, endometriosis can also be asymptomatic – meaning some people can live a productive life without knowing they have the condition usually until later, when they begin experiencing difficulties conceiving.
There are several treatments available which may be worth considering. However they can be complex and costly, and the outcome is not always guaranteed.
The type of treatment you have will depend on several factors, such as your age, medical history, the severity of your symptoms, your infertility risk factors, treatment costs and your personal choice.
Your medical team should discuss each treatment option available to you thoroughly, taking into consideration all the previously mentioned factors, along with any possible side effects, risks and complications.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a type of treatment which involves directly inserting a sample of sperm into the uterus during ovulation (the monthly release of eggs from the ovaries). This treatment is often combined with fertility medications such as Clomid (clomiphene) and Gonadotrophin. These medications are given to enhance the outcomes of a pregnancy and overall contributing to a successful treatment. However, one or more (or sometimes multiple) rounds of IUI may be required.
If you have been unsuccessful falling pregnant having engaged in regular unprotected sex, you may be considering surgery to remove endometriosis. Surgery may improve chances of natural conception for some people, but for others, it can jeopardise their chances, along with their future fertility treatments (such as IVF).
Surgery is an invasive procedure which carries risks of lowering the ovarian reserve by damaging healthy ovarian tissue by. Therefore surgery is mostly offered for pain management.
If you decide to undergo surgery to improve your chances of conception, it’s important to discuss this treatment thoroughly with a fertility specialist, in conjunction with your endometriosis specialist, before embarking on treatment.
A chromopertubation procedure may be carried out at the time of surgery to examine your fallopian tubes to check for any blockages (such as scar tissue).
Invitro Fertilisation (IVF) will sometimes be recommended as a first line treatment, particularly for those who are over the age of 35 or who fall within the later stages category of endometriosis (3-4) where their fertility is at risk. For those with stage 1-2 endometriosis, invitro Fertilisation is usually carried out once Intrauterine Insemination has not worked.
Compared to Intrauterine Insemination, Invitro Fertilisation is considered an invasive treatment. It involves removing eggs and fertilising them outside of the body, then transferring them into the womb. This treatment provides the best chances of getting pregnant, and sometimes multiple rounds of Invitro Fertilisation may be required.
Invitro Fertilisation may not be an option for all couples. Some couples may prefer less invasive treatments while others may be unable to afford it. For these couples, multiple rounds of IUI may be advised as well as the possibility of adoption or surrogacy.