Pregnancy and Infertility
Infertility is present in about 30 per cent of women with endometriosis but there are treatment options.
Infertility is present in about 30 per cent of women with endometriosis26.
In mild endometriosis there is no obvious reason why infertility occurs, but it is believed that there may be some body chemicals released from the endometriosis cells that interfere with the ability to conceive or affect early normal development of the embryo27.
In moderate to severe forms, scarring may cause interference with ovulation and the passage of the egg along the tube because of damage or blockage. It can also prevent the sperm from reaching the egg.
It is important to remember that not all women with endometriosis are infertile. Many women have children without difficulty; have already had children before they are diagnosed; or over time, eventually have a successful pregnancy.
Is pregnancy a cure for endometriosis?
Many women are told that pregnancy is a cure for endometriosis, but unfortunately this is a myth. In the majority of women pregnancy leads to an improvement or a disappearance of the condition, particularly during the latter months of the pregnancy; however the beneficial effects are usually only temporary and many women will experience a recurrence within a few years28.
Surgical treatment of endometriosis is believed to increase the chances of pregnancy. In a recent trial, laparoscopy was found to be approximately 31 per cent effective for pregnancy in women with endometriosis, in comparison to 17 per cent for women who did not have the surgery, though approximately 50 per cent of women will receive a recurrence of endometriosis after pregnancy29.
If surgical treatment is unsuccessful, in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments may also be considered; however, before trying this form of treatment, it is important that your endometriosis is properly treated, as the oestrogen levels involved may flare up any existing endometriosis.
Content updated 30 November 2011