March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, and whether you are affected by this condition yourself, or have a friend or family member who is struggling with it, we are here to answer your questions about how endometriosis and fertility are linked! For those who have been diagnosed with this condition, a lot of scary information out there can make building a family seem like a frightening or impossible task. If you either have endometriosis, or are at risk for endometriosis, you may be wondering how it affects your fertility, and if you will be able to get pregnant at all with this condition.
Endometriosis affects over 176 million women worldwide. It is a disorder that occurs when your uterine lining (or endometrium) is growing on other organs inside your body. It is usually seen in the pelvis or lower abdomen, affecting the uterus and fallopian tubes, but it can also spread to other areas.
Due to this extra tissue that becomes present in these very sensitive areas, endometriosis can cause pain during your periods or during sex, and in some women, it causes pain all the time. Endometriosis can also make it harder for some women to get pregnant by preventing movement of the egg and sperm through a woman’s fallopian tubes. This presents a huge hurdle to overcome in the natural baby-making process, making it difficult to even get through to the first steps of pregnancy.
If you’re wondering if endometriosis causes infertility, the answer is a bit complicated. Infertility is a common side effect of endometriosis, but the disorder does not prevent ovulation. Rather, infertility with endometriosis usually occurs due to fallopian tubes being blocked or scarred, the uterus becoming inhospitable for an embryo to attach, or certain changes to your immune system.
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If you have endometriosis and cannot get pregnant, it may be because although you are ovulating, the blockages in your fallopian tubes prevent an egg from traveling down to be fertilized, or prevent sperm from having an open passage to travel to reach the waiting egg. In some cases, fallopian tubes are clear, but the uterine lining is abnormal and prevents an embryo from attaching and growing properly, so even if an egg does become fertilized, it is unable to develop inside the body. Also, endometriosis can cause your immune system to work overtime which can result in increased inflammation, preventing an egg from maturing as it usually would.
All this being said, it is important to know that infertility is defined as the inability to naturally conceive after one or more year of unprotected sex. But just because you may be facing an infertility diagnosis due to endometriosis does not mean that you still cannot have your own biological children. About 30% to 50% of women who have endometriosis may face infertility, but with modern technology, a significant portion of these women are still able to have their own biological child.
These treatments can include IUI, or Intrauterine Insemination, which helps get the sperm closer to the egg. They can also include IVF, or In-Vitro Fertilization, extracting an egg and fertilizing it outside the body, making sure only the healthiest eggs and sperm are used, and then implanting the developing embryo back into the uterus to develop into a baby!
Living with endometriosis can be painful both physically and emotionally, but if you are trying to build a family, fertility clinics are on your side and modern technology is here to help. Today, there is more hope than ever before for women with this condition to build their families and have their own biological children. Clinics like Reproductive Health and Wellness Center are well versed in dealing with endometriosis and other medical conditions. If you are at risk or have this condition, you can call and talk one on one with one of our specialists to see what the best route for you is when it comes to making your baby! We care about putting you at ease during this difficult journey and giving you the best chance possible to have the family you’ve been dreaming of! Call today to talk to a consultant and get the support that is waiting for you!