Endometriosis and Infertility: Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Need help for endometriosis and infertility? Then make an appointment with your doctor or a fertility specialist. Your doctor can explain all about endometriosis, including the causes of endometriosis and how this problem affects your fertility.

In addition, your doctor can give you the latest medical research and specific details on endometriosis tests and treatments. Treating endometriosis early is important, especially if you are trying to get pregnant.  Before you see your doctor, here are some questions and answers to consider:

Q - Why does endometriosis cause infertility?
A – More than half of all women with endometriosis have trouble getting pregnant. While the causes are unknown, experts claim that endometriosis results in scar tissue that forms in a woman’s reproductive organs. The scar tissue makes it hard—sometimes impossible—to get pregnant without undergoing medical treatments. Even for women with mild endometriosis, it’s important for a surgeon to determine the location of the problem.

Q- Can women with endometriosis get pregnant?
A – Many women with endometriosis get pregnant and have healthy babies after undergoing endometriosis treatment. Some women with endometriosis get pregnant without treatment, although conceiving may be more difficult.

Q – Can I wait to get pregnant or is age a concern?
A –A woman’s age is a critical factor in both endometriosis treatment and in the ability to get pregnant and have a baby.  If you have endometriosis, ask your doctor about treatment, especially if you are in your mid-30s. Increasing age often complicates endometriosis treatment for many women.  Also, endometriosis can worsen with age, causing problems up to the age of menopause.

Q – I want to get pregnant right now. What should I do?
A – Talk with your doctor or fertility specialist soon. Your doctor will give you a detailed course of action that works best for your situation.  For instance, a fertility specialist or Reproductive Endocrinologist may suggest that you try intrauterine insemination (IUI) and a fertility medicine such as Clomid to help ovulation. After that, your doctor may suggest that you try in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

With IVF, your partner’s sperm and your eggs (or donor sperm and/or donor eggs) are placed together in a laboratory petri dish to achieve fertilization. Once the embryo is formed, the fertility specialist transfers the embryo into your uterus to start the pregnancy. Sometimes the embryos are cryopreserved (frozen) to use at a further time. With ICSI, the sperm is injected directly into an egg to achieve fertilization. 

Questions to ask your doctor
Talk openly with your doctor about the risks and benefits of these fertility treatments so you can make the decision that’s best for you.  Here are more questions you can ask your physician about endometriosis and infertility:

  • How many cases of endometriosis do you treat each year?
  • How many laparoscopies do you perform each year?
  • How many IVF cycles do you do each year?
  • What are the success rates for women my age with endometriosis?
  • What are your overall live birth success rates?
  • How many rounds of each type of treatment do you suggest for me?
  • Are there support groups for patients with endometriosis?  
  • Can I use alternative therapies during my medical regimen?  
  • Do you have contact with donor egg, embryo and surrogacy programs?
  • Will my health insurance cover the cost of the endometriosis treatment? What about the treatment for infertility?
  • If my insurance won’t cover the financial costs, do you have a payment plan?
  • Are you available during evening hours and/or on the weekend? What are your regular office hours?
  • Can I call you or someone on your nursing staff directly if I have questions or problems with fertility treatment?

So what can you do to boost the chances of getting pregnant and staying pregnant?  You can keep talking openly to your doctor about endometriosis and infertility. Ask questions and learn all you can about this common problem that often causes infertility. Also, work alongside your doctor to find the most effective endometriosis treatment that allows you to get pregnant.

Ask a doctor in your area about endometriosis

This content is Copyright The American Fertility Association (AFA) 2010. This content is intended for personal use and may not be distributed or reproduced without AFA consent. Please contact info@theafa.org or visit theafa.org for more information.

Sources
  • The American Fertility Association Fact Sheet: Important Questions For Your Doctor.
  • American Society of Reproductive Medicine: Endometriosis and Infertility: Can Surgery Help?