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My girlfriend with whom I am just getting really serious recently found out that she has endometriosis. I had never heard of this condition before, but it now seems that it means that flesh from inside the uterus grows all over the place. She mentioned something about endometriosis and infertility. We theoretically want children in the future. Now, does endometriosis mean you are infertile and there is no way to conceive? Or does it mean IVF is needed? Or can this be treated?

Anyone with more information, please help out here and tell me what we can expect in the future.

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Hi, 

Many people worry about how to get pregnant with endometriosis. It is a fair point. If I am correct, around a third of all women will struggle with sub-fertility (which still doesn't mean they are definitely unable to conceive naturally), but that also means a larger number will conceive without difficulties.

If help is needed in that area, I think Clomid, a drug that induces ovulation, is much more commonly used than IVF. 

Endometriosis comes in stages, and how an individual is affected depends on a great many things. I suggest you/your girlfriend take these questions to your doctor. 

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Endometriosis doesn't necessarily mean you cannot conceive naturally. If you and your girlfriend do end up having trouble conceiving, that also doesn't mean that this cannot be overcome with the help of modern medicine. This may come in the form of laparoscopy for endo, IUI, or even IVF, especially if your girlfriend's tubes have become damaged. These treatments are stressful and costly, but they do help countless couples become parents. Just keep that in mind before you think that not being able to get pregnant naturally means you will never become parents. 

Don't spend too much time reading about the most challenging cases, anyway. Listen to the doctor. 

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Hey,

Being diagnosed with a chronic condition that can cause horrendous symptoms as well as fertility struggles is not easy. At the beginning, it can seem incredibly daunting and newly diagnosed patients are likely to read about the worst possible outcomes and think that this could be them.

The prognosis is highly dependent on a person's individual circumstances, however, and it is your girlfriend's treating physician who can provide the both of you with the most accurate information. One person will come on here and say, "I have endometriosis, and I got pregnant without any issues", while other will say they had IVF and it failed. Neither has any impact on what will happen in your girlfriend's case. The only person who can predict that with some accuracy is her doctor!

Rosie

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When I was diagnosed with endometriosis, in my early 20s, I just got the diagnosis and that was that. Nobody suggested any treatment and nobody mentioned potential infertility. Fast forward, we've now been TTC for 18 months and I am seriously starting to get worried. I've recently been reading about IUI and I am going to see if we can get tests done. 

If you have a doctor who immediately tackles this issue, you're really... well, better off than I was. It is so important to have a good doctor with you every step of the way. This will really help increase your chances. 

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Something else to consider is that some women with endometriosis get pregnant naturally, but experience a lot of issues during their pregnancy. Terrible pain and cramping seem to be quite common. When you consider this, I think it is very important to coordinate TTC efforts with a physician, even if natural pregnancy is quite possible.

You don't want to realize that you and your girlfriend are expecting, and then have to scramble around for the right OBGYN to provide prenatal care. You want to have that lined up in advanced, so you know she and the baby will be getting the best care possible.

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Infertility and sub fertility are among the main complications experienced by women who suffer from endometriosis. This still does not mean that you can conclude that you an your girlfriend will have trouble conceiving, or require fertility treatments, in advance, though. 

One interesting thing, on a more optimistic note, is that many women with endometriosis find that their endometriosis symptoms get a lot better once they have been pregnant and had a baby. 

Some medical professionals note that endometriosis can grow more severe over time and advise couples to conceive earlier rather than later to increase their chances of having a baby.

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