Fertility Blog

Endometriosis and Fertility Care: What Are My Options?

While endometriosis can have multiple implications on a woman’s body, it is most commonly known for its effect on female fertility. In fact, many women first discover that they have endometriosis when undergoing diagnostics and testing for infertility.

When a woman has endometriosis, the endometrium – the tissue that lines the uterus – grows beyond the uterus and onto other organs, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowels, and pelvic area. This growth can cause inflammation, cysts, scar tissue and adhesions, which can interfere with the functioning of the reproductive organs and fertility.

The cause of infertility differs among women with endometriosis. For example, while some women experience damage to their ovarian reserve, others may suffer from blockages of the fallopian tubes, or even both. As such, treatment options vary among women with endometriosis and are highly dependent on how and where the disease has progressed.

Egg Freezing

For women with endometriosis who would like to have children in the future, egg freezing can be a great treatment option. Endometriosis progresses with age and can eventually have negative effects on egg quality. For women with endometriosis who want to one day have a family, doctors recommend freezing their eggs as early as possible. The egg-freezing process is relatively straightforward, involving a short procedure in which a woman’s eggs are retrieved and then stored at a facility for later use.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Women who are diagnosed with mild to severe endometriosis while trying to become pregnant may want to consider in vitro fertilization {IVF}. When endometriosis spreads into the fallopian tubes, the egg becomes blocked and cannot descend and combine with the sperm. However, with IVF, a woman’s egg is extracted and fertilized outside the body in a laboratory. The resulting embryo is then implanted into the uterus.

Using an Egg Donor

Endometriosis can sometimes have a significantly negative impact on the ovarian reserve, affecting a woman’s eggs both in terms of quality and quantity. In these cases, traditional IVF using a woman’s own eggs might not be successful, since doctors will not be able to create a viable embryo. As an alternative, you may want to consider using a donor egg, in which an egg from another woman is fertilized with a partner’s or donor’s sperm, and then implanted into your (or a surrogate’s) uterus.

Learn More

The options discussed here are some of the more common treatments for endometriosis-related fertility issues; however, depending on your circumstances, you may need alternative or additional solutions. To learn what is best for you, schedule an appointment and speak with your doctor today. To learn more about using an egg donor, contact Washington Fertility Center today.