There are countless conditions that can negatively impact the female reproductive system and compromise fertility, one of which is endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissues from the uterine lining grow outside of the uterus, typically in areas such as the fallopian tubes and around the ovaries.
If a woman suffers from endometriosis, she is likely to have a difficult time conceiving naturally. A fertility evaluation is actually how many cases of endometriosis are diagnosed. At the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, serving Tarzana, CA, Bakersfield, CA, and Los Angeles, CA, we often recommend IVF for endometriosis patients. IVF assists with all stages of conception, overcoming obstacles related to endometriosis so that a successful pregnancy is more likely.
How Does Endometriosis Impact Fertility?
Endometriosis can cause a wide range of symptoms in women, including:
- Pain in the lower back
- Especially painful menstrual cramps
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- Abnormal menstrual bleeding
While endometriosis can cause significant discomfort, many women do not recognize pain as a symptom of endometriosis. It is often not until our patients try to conceive and run into fertility issues that endometriosis is diagnosed. Endometriosis can have a significant impact on female fertility. Potential complications of endometriosis than can interfere with the female reproductive system include:
- Scar tissue or adhesions in the pelvic area
- Scar tissues and/or blockages in the fallopian tubes
- Collections of endometrial tissues around the ovaries
The inflammation caused by endometriosis creates a hostile environment that can be damaging to the eggs and sperm cells. Additionally, the blockages that scar tissue and inflammation can cause make it far more difficult for an egg to be transported through the fallopian tubes so that it can reach its intended destination. All these factors considered, it is much more difficult for a woman with endometriosis to conceive without fertility treatment.
How Can IVF Help?
IVF, or in vitro fertilization, is the most recommended fertility treatment for our patients with endometriosis. IVF is an assisted reproductive technique that takes fertilization out of the female reproductive system and into the laboratory. IVF bypasses the fallopian tubes and keeps the eggs and sperm out of the pelvic area while they are being fertilized, so the effects of endometriosis are far less likely to impact the ultimate success of the pregnancy.
What to Expect during Treatment
IVF is a multi-stage fertility treatment that assists throughout all aspects of conception. IVF treatment begins with ovarian stimulation. Fertility drugs will be administered to promote the production of multiple mature eggs. Following a trigger shot that stimulates the release of these eggs, an egg retrieval procedure will be scheduled.
During egg retrieval, we use a thin, flexible catheter to collect eggs. These eggs will be mixed with a sperm sample in our laboratory, where the fertility process will be evaluated. On either day three or five of the fertilization process, the most viable embryo (or embryos) will be selected for embryo transfer.
Embryo transfer is the final stage of IVF treatment. During this procedure, ultrasound imaging is used to pass a catheter through the cervix and into the womb. Using this catheter, embryos are transferred directly to the uterus, where they will ideally implant in the uterine lining and result in a healthy pregnancy.
Contact Us to Learn More about Overcoming Endometriosis
If you have struggled to conceive, the fertility services offered at the Center for Fertility and Gynecology may be able to help you realize your dream of becoming a parent. To learn more about IVF or the other treatments offered at our fertility practice, send us a message at your earliest convenience, or call (818) 881-9800.