Endometriosis will not Lower IVF Success
Effects of endometriosis on fertility treatment success has always been a controversy. When a woman is diagnosed with endometriosis, she receives multiple contradicting advises from multiple sources. It is very difficult for women to sort through these recommendations and pick the one that are suitable for her symptoms and reproductive plans. Indeed reproductive plans and symptoms are by far more important than the nature of the problem, anatomically, as well as what one reproductive surgeon or a fertility specialist think you should do.
Reproductive Plans in women diagnosed with endometriosis
Simply do you want to fave a baby or did you complete your family?. If you want to have a baby, then an initial infertility evaluation is required: testing for ovulation, ovarian reserve, male factor and Fallopian tube patency is required. Sometimes other forms of pelvic imaging e.g MRI is needed to test for ovarian cysts or endometriomas…Endometriosis itself may require laparoscopy and biopsy for accurate diagnosis.
Women are then categorized according to findings: endometriosis only, endometriosis with other factor or endometriosis with low egg reserve. That will facilitate further advice.
One very important indicator that you are not talking to the right person if he or she did not complete the evaluation for male factor and egg reserve. These are essential tenets of fertility and failure to test them will have impact on success. It would be absurd to do surgery for endometriosis for example to discover later that you have a severe male factor that require IVF -ICSI.
If you desire future fertility, reproductive endocrinologists should taylor their advice to preserve reproductive tissues and minimize surgery. There is a strong evidence that surgery in the ovary reduces ovarian reserve, irrespective of technique used.
Pain in women diagnosed with endometriosis
If the main symptom is pain, in different forms, then medical or surgical treatment can be employed. in women who completed their families. Medical treatment e.g non cyclic oral contraceptive pills of GnRH agonists (depot lupron) prevent pregnancy. From a practical stand point, surgery im many cases may not promote pregnancy in women with with mild and severe endometriosis.
Women diagnosed with endometriosis and report pelvic pain should focus on getting pregnant. Pregnancy can suppress endometriosis for a long time after delivery
Fertility Treatment in Women Diagnosed with Endometriosis
Absolutely avoid doing surgery in the ovaries in women interested in pregnancy. This is crucial. Opening endometriomas and tripping their walls leads to significant loss of egg reserve. The only indication to remove endometriomas if they are complicated e.g rupture or suspicion of malignancy. There are many reports of finding eggs in the wall of endometriomas after removal and reduction in egg reserve markers after surgery. Bilateral surgery for endometioma can lead to menopause, irrespective of the skill of the surgeon.
In minimal and mild endometriosis with reasonable egg reserve, normal sperm analysis and open fallopian tubes, ovarian stimulation and IUI can be entertained in young women (38 years).
In women with moderate or severe endometriosis e.g endometriomas, blocked tubes.. or those with associated male factor infertility or low egg reserve, IVF yields a much higher pregnancy rate.
IVF Success in Women with Endometriosis
Recent analysis of IVF cycles performed in women with endometriosis with or without other factors (tubal, male, unexplained infertility) indicates that
Isolated endometriosis is associated with similar IVF success and live birth to other infertility factors, though the number of eggs retrieved may be smaller.
Endometriosis when associated with other factors e.g male or tubal factor may have lower success rates. The live birth rate is still excellent 35 to 45% per cycle.Endometriosis-and-IVF
Treatment of Endometriosis related pain
Both medical treatment and surgery are effective for treatment of pain. Endometriomas do not respond to medical treatment. Endometriosis on the peitoneum and and other organs respond to medical and surgical treatment. Adenomyosis (endometriosis of the uterus) is a surgical disease and respond only to surgery.
In general medical treatment is successful but requires patience and can be used for a longer period of time with add back therapy.
If you are diagnosed with endometriosis there is wide range of treatment options. Treatment should be personalized to your reproductive goals and symptoms not to physician expertise and bias. There is really little controversy about what need to be done in each situation. Women just need to be specific about what they want: get rid of pain or have another baby. IVF success is not impaired in women with endometriosis.