Endometriosis and Your Fertility

Female doctor explaining diagnosis to her female patient

Endometriosis is a common factor in fertility problems. It’s estimated that 25-50% of infertile women have endometriosis, and between 30-50% of women who have endometriosis also have fertility problems. While endometriosis can interfere with your ability to get pregnant, you don’t have to give up. The expert gynecologists and endometriosis surgeons here at Maiden Lane Medical in Midtown Manhattan provide personalized treatment for endometriosis that can protect and restore your ability to get pregnant. In this article, we cover:

How endometriosis affects fertility

When to talk to a doctor about infertility

Is endometriosis the cause of your infertility

Endometriosis surgery and fertility

What to expect from endometriosis surgery

About endometriosis

Endometriosis is a women’s health issue that occurs when endometrial tissue — the tissue that builds up to line your uterus every month — grows on organs outside of your uterus. Endometriosis is most often found on other pelvic organs like the outside of your womb, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and bowel. 

Endometriosis is a common cause of pelvic pain both during your period and throughout the month. It causes painful intercourse, bowel movements, and other disruptive symptoms, including fertility problems.

How does endometriosis affect fertility?

Your fertility is contingent on several things happening in a precise time window. First, your ovaries must produce and release a mature egg. Then, that egg cell must travel through your fallopian tubes to reach your uterus. Then, that tiny egg must join with a tiny sperm cell within 24 hours of its release from your ovary and successfully implant in the wall of your uterus. 

When endometriosis forms on your ovaries and fallopian tubes, it can cause scar adhesions to form. This scar tissue can interfere with your ovaries’ ability to release eggs or create a blockage in your fallopian tubes, which prevents your egg from reaching your uterus. Additionally, you can develop endometriosis on the outside of your uterus and cervix, which can prevent sperm from getting into your womb to fertilize an egg. 

Endometriosis, via the high levels of inflammatory chemicals in the fluid around your ovaries, can cause your eggs to age faster than the eggs of women without endometriosis. So, your normally young healthy, for example, 26-year-old eggs really may behave biologically like 30-year-old eggs if you have endometriosis. For this reason, we are strong proponents of egg freezing in women with endometriosis.

African american woman suffering from pelvic pain, close up of hands on stomach

When should I talk to a doctor about fertility problems?

If you’re under the age of 35 and have been having unprotected sex and trying to get pregnant for 6 months without success, you should talk to a member of the team at Maiden Lane Medical. You should speak to your doctor after three months of unsuccessfully trying for pregnancy if you’re 35 or older. The experts at Maiden Lane Medical work with fertility specialists throughout NYC and the metropolitan area to give patients the best in individualized care and team approach. 

How do I know if endometriosis is the cause of my fertility problems?

The women’s health and endometriosis specialists at Maiden Lane Medical provide thorough exams and diagnostics to identify endometriosis and other causes of fertility problems. Your doctor begins with a conversation about your medical history and overall health. They need to know if you have endometriosis symptoms like painful periods, pelvic pain, and uncomfortable intercourse. 

Then, your doctor uses diagnostic imaging tests like ultrasound and MRI to look for signs of endometriosis. In some cases, the best method of diagnosing endometriosis is a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure. During laparoscopy, while you’re under anesthesia, your endometriosis surgeon makes a small incision in your abdomen. Then, they insert a laparoscope into your body and gently inflate your belly with gas. A laparoscope is a thin surgical tube with a light and a camera on its tip that sends video from inside your body to a monitor in your treatment room. The gas inflates your body to create space for clear images. 

Your surgeon studies your pelvic and abdominal organs for signs of endometriosis. If they find endometriosis or scar tissue on your ovaries, fallopian tubes, or cervix, your endometriosis surgeon can determine if the condition is causing your fertility problems. 

What should I do if I want to have a baby but have endometriosis? 

Endometriosis doesn’t need to be treated with birth control pills or hysterectomy. The team of women’s health and endometriosis specialists at Maiden Lane Medical believe in treating endometriosis, not just masking its symptoms with medication. They provide state-of-the-art radical resection procedures to remove endometriosis and scar tissue while leaving your reproductive organs intact and functional. Their goal is to work within your reproductive needs. 

What happens during endometriosis surgery?

Endometriosis surgery is another minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure. Your expert endometriosis surgeon uses a laparoscope to see inside your body and other special surgical instruments to carefully remove endometriosis from your reproductive organs. 

The surgery can take a few hours, but you should be able to get up and walk around when your anesthesia wears off. Minimally invasive procedures reduce your risk of infection and scarring and usually have more rapid recovery times than traditional open surgeries. 

The endometriosis surgeons at Maiden Lane Medical have performed thousands of radical endometriosis resection surgeries. They’re extraordinarily skilled and always put your needs and reproductive plans first. 

Also, leaving your ovaries and other reproductive organs intact makes no difference in your outcome and risk of recurrent endometriosis. If you have endometriosis and want to have a baby, a radical endometriosis resection procedure is most likely your best chance of treating your endometriosis and removing barriers to your ability to get pregnant. 

How soon can I try to get pregnant after endometriosis surgery?

Your endometriosis surgeon gives you personalized advice on when to start trying again after your operation. In most cases, you should allow two to four weeks to recover before having sex and trying to get pregnant. Generally, most women can attempt conception with the next ovulatory cycle after surgery. The optimal time to conceive after having endometriosis surgery to improve fertility is within one year of surgery. However, if you’re not pregnant within six months of starting to try again, make another appointment with the experts at Maiden Lane Medical for additional fertility and reproductive health evaluations. 

Whether you’re concerned about endometriosis, fertility, or are looking for an experienced and compassionate women’s health provider in Midtown, contact us here at Maiden Lane Medical. We’re the premier endometriosis treatment center in New York City, and our team of endometriosis surgeons is committed to delivering the best possible and most effective treatments for endometriosis and other women’s health concerns.

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