How does endometriosis affect fertility?
Endometriosis, which affects approximately 48 percent of infertile women, is a painful condition where the tissue lining the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterine cavity. The tissue responds to your menstrual cycle hormones by swelling, thickening, and shedding to mark the beginning of the next cycle. While women with endometriosis will still experience blood discharge through the vagina, the bloodshed from endometrial tissue that grows in the pelvis remains and eventually scars. The tissue can also spread and grow inside the ovaries and form ovarian cysts called endometriomas, which could potentially affect fertility.
The reason why so many women with endometriosis experience a decrease in fertility isn’t entirely known, but it could be the scar tissue that distorts the Fallopian tubes that transport the eggs from the ovaries. Another theory is that the increased levels of estrogen could affect ovulation, fertilization of the egg, or even implantation of the embryo.
How can you preserve your fertility with endometriosis?
While surgery for endometriosis is beneficial and sometimes necessary, it could have a negative impact on your fertility. If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, egg freezing is an option to preserve your future fertility before treatment for endometriosis.
Previously, women with endometriosis had limited options—have surgery and potentially damage their fertility, or experience pain. Now, women with endometriosis don’t necessarily have to choose between treatment to relieve pain and their future fertility. Egg freezing for women with endometriosis may be a game-changer.
Why consider egg freezing before endometriosis treatment?
While laparoscopic surgery can help reduce the pain, excessive bleeding, and chronic menstrual cramps associated with endometriosis, it can also negatively affect your ovarian reserve. In fact, Shady Grove Fertility suggests that women with symptoms of endometriosis consider egg freezing and speak with a fertility specialist prior to initiating surgery. If you have been diagnosed with moderate to severe endometriosis and are waiting to conceive, you can opt to freeze your eggs now to preserve your fertility options in the future.
Overcoming Future Infertility through Egg Freezing
Egg freezing allows women with endometriosis to preserve the existing quantity and quality of their eggs and fertility now. Vitrification, or flash-freezing, is a very efficient and effective method of freezing your eggs that demonstrates strong survival, fertilization, and embryonic development rates after your frozen eggs have been thawed so that family building is an option for your future.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness as of March 2019.
If you would like to learn more about endometriosis and egg freezing or to schedule an appointment, please call our New Patient Center at 1-877-411-9292 or complete this brief online form.