This is the question I asked myself since being diagnosed with endometriosis, March 2019… and probably this is also quite a popular question for many other women/girls with endometriosis. My husband and I have been trying for the past 2 years already and our wish to have a baby is bigger than ever before. The answer, after a lot of research, seems to be ‘Yes’. (Yihaaa !) But of course, there is no guarantee and chances are smaller to get pregnant with endo, than without.
Browsing through literature on endo, I came across some fascinating facts:
- According to statistics, it seems that 30-50% of all infertile women may suffer from endometriosis… (NB, please find the official definition of infertility: “Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.”, which was not clear for me in the beginning. I thought, being infertile meant, NOT being able to get pregnant AT ALL…) This might be obvious for native English speakers, but might not be clear for everyone.
- Women with mild or only little presence of endo have smaller risk of being infertile than women with endo stage 3 or 4.
- For women with serious endo , chances to conceive naturally increase substantially after endo-clean-up-surgery. You can find an interesting study about this here,
- What I also found interesting is that, just like me, many women only find out they have endometriosis, because they find it hard to become pregnant and they start investigating why it is so hard.
- 20-25% of all women with endometriosis will even be entirely without symptoms and might never even had any pain with menstruation whatsoever.
- There are many women who do conceive naturally with endo though. If you know you have endo, it is recommended to try and conceive naturally for at least 6 months, before you go and talk to an expert. (whereas women without endo are recommended to try for at least 12 months). For women > 35 years old, I would recommend to see a fertility expert right away… to avoid losing precious time.
The endometriosis expert who treats me for my endo, who was also the surgeon that removed it through excision, did warn me that it might still not be easy and convinced me not too give up too soon trying naturally. After surgery in March, I had to promise him to try and conceive naturally at least until end of 2019 (9 months). If we are not successful, we will try what many other endo-women do, which is getting pregnant through IVF.
I tried to find out why it is exactly that endometriosis causes infertility, but this is not always very clear. In some cases, the endometria or scar tissue are blocking the fallopian tubes or cysts are formed on or around the ovaries. This of course does not help. Also general body inflammation has an influence on infertility. But it is not tested or proven that inflammation causes endo or how’s it’s causing women to be infertile. This still remains a mystery. Studies have shown that embryos from women with endometriosis develop slower than average. When an egg donor has endometriosis, and those eggs are used in a woman without endometriosis, the resulting embryos tend to be of lower quality and implantation rates are negatively affected.
As you can see, still many questions arise around the connection between endometriosis and infertility. Many is still to be discovered and I hope lots of these questions will be answered in the next couple of years. In my next post, I will discuss a bit more in detail the different options you have, in case you can not get pregnant naturally and you want science to help you out. At this moment in time though, I only remember the positive and just want to repeat it once more: YES, in most cases, you can get pregnant with endometriosis. 🙂