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The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

The Relation of Female Infertility and Uterine Abnormalities

By Paula Hovell on November 16, 2016

Uterine abnormalitiesUterine abnormalities are typically present from birth and may never present any sort of symptoms until you try to conceive. Some uterine conditions can make it difficult for you to conceive, while others can result in miscarriage or premature birth. At the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, our doctors can tell you if your female infertility is caused by uterine abnormalities during an appointment at our Los Angeles, CA office. We offer a variety of infertility services to treat uterine abnormalities and improve your ability to conceive.

Types of Uterine Conditions

Nearly three percent of women are born with a uterine defect, affecting its size, shape, or structure. During fetal development, the Mullerian ducts in female fetuses join together and form the uterus. In some cases, these ducts, or small tubes, do not completely join, resulting in defects.

Septate Uterus

This is the most common uterine abnormality and is characterized by muscle or tissues that divide the uterus into two. A septate uterus often causes women to have repeat miscarriages. To prevent future miscarriages, surgery is typically required.

Bicornate Uterus

Also referred to as a heart-shaped uterus, a bicornate uterus has two distinct spaces rather than one.

Didelphic Uterus

Also known as a double uterus, there are not only two separate spaces, as with the bicornate uterus, but there are also separate cervices, or openings into the uterus.

Unicornate Uterus

With this condition, the uterus does not form completely. It is also referred to as a one-sided uterus, because only half of the uterus develops.

How Uterine Conditions Affect Fertility

Uterine abnormalities typically do not cause any discomfort or any other indications of a defect until a woman tries to conceive. Although some women can conceive and have a complication-free pregnancy with a uterine abnormality, others may experience complications. These complications may include the following.

  • Difficulty conceiving
  • Two or more consecutive miscarriages
  • Premature birth
  • Birth defects caused by restricted room for growth and development
  • Slow fetal growth and development
  • Problems with the baby’s positioning prior to birth
  • The need for a cesarean (C-section)

Treatment Options

Surgery is the most common treatment option for a septate or bicornate uterus. After surgical treatment for a septate uterus, most women can begin trying to get pregnant soon and can typically have a successful vaginal delivery. A woman who has undergone surgery for a bicornate uterus should wait three months or more before trying to conceive and most require a C-section for delivery. Unfortunately, there are no viable treatment options, surgical or otherwise, available for didelphic or unicornate uterus conditions.

Uterine abnormalities are not always the sole cause of female infertility. As such, our doctors will look at all other possibilities. By addressing any other potential causes of infertility, they can enhance your ability to conceive, even if your uterine defect is not treatable.

Learn More about Our Infertility Services

If you are trying to get pregnant but have struggled to conceive, or have suffered through multiple miscarriages, contact our fertility center to discuss your treatment options.

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