Getting pregnant naturally is possible, but the odds are not very high. Fortunately, several treatment options significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant.
What is endometriosis?
The tissue that lines the uterus to various degrees throughout the menstrual cycle is called the endometrium. This tissue, which women of childbearing age shed during their periods, is there to create a suitable environment for a fertilized egg to implant and then grow. In some cases, the endometrium will grow in places it shouldn't the fallopian tubes, ovaries, intestines, and bladder can all be affected. This is what is called endometriosis. One of the main problems with endometriosis is that like endometrial tissue inside the uterus the overgrowth of endometrium is shed at the end of the menstrual cycle. It cannot just leave the body as with endometrial tissue from the uterus, so cysts can form and the patient can experience a lot of pain. Irregular menstrual bleeding, bloating, diarrhea and back pain are some of the more common endometriosis symptoms besides pelvic pain. Infertility is, unfortunately, another frequent complaint among women who suffer from endometriosis.
How many women with endometriosis get pregnant naturally?
A significant number of women who have endometriosis will be infertile. Endometriosis comes in different stages. With severe endometriosis, cysts and adhesions can interfere with either ovulation itself, the possibility of sperm and egg coming together, or a fertilized egg reaches the uterus. Even women who have mild endometriosis have a reduced chance of getting pregnant, though the cause isn't clear in their case. Have you been diagnosed with endometriosis and are you thinking about how to conceive a baby?
Of course, you will want to know how likely you are to get pregnant naturally without any treatment. Unfortunately, the chances aren't that good if you have mild endometriosis, you will have around a two percent chance of conceiving during a cycle, while those with more severe endometriosis only have a one percent chance. This is assuming that your partner doesn't have any fertility problems.
Healthy young couples have a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant during any one menstrual cycle. Women with endometriosis can and do get pregnant naturally sometimes, but with such reduced odds it is hardly surprising that many women with the condition look for treatment options. Everyone who has endometriosis and is thinking about how to get pregnant should see a doctor to discuss their options and chances. In the meantime, we'll write a bit more about the treatment options that make getting pregnant with endometriosis more likely.
Laparoscopy is the most common way to surgically correct mild endometriosis, and this procedure is also used for diagnostic purposes. With traditional surgery, a large incision has to be made in the abdomen in order to correct the problem. With laparoscopy, only a few small cuts serve to insert surgical instruments and the laparoscope, or viewing tool. Both endometrial tissues and scarring can be removed through this procedure. After laparoscopic surgery to correct endometriosis, the odds of conceiving improve a few percents per cycle within the first year after the surgery. Endometriosis usually becomes a problem again after around a year.
Fertility drugs and endometriosis
Fertility drugs like Clomid can be useful for women who have endometriosis and ovulation problems. Those who have scarring or tubal blockages do not benefit from medications that induce ovulation at all. Fertility drugs in combination with intrauterine insemination may increase the chances of getting pregnant by quite a bit, although the exact reason why this is true is not clear.
If you're thinking about IVF, let's get straight to the figures. You may have a one or two percent chance of getting pregnant naturally without treatment if you have endometriosis, a five percent after laparoscopic surgery (and then only within a year after surgery), an 11 percent chance of conceiving with fertility medications, and a 35 percent chance with IVF! Invitro fertilization comes with its own health risks, both for mother and baby, but it is quite apparent that IVF offers the highest chance of getting pregnant to women who have endometriosis.