There has been a large body of evidence over the years suggesting that endometriosis may directly cause infertility. One of the reasons may be that endometriosis can damage a women’s reproductive organs, such as development of scars (adhesions) around these organs or blockage of their fallopian tubes. Frequently, many of these women need advanced fertility treatment such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in order to become pregnant. Of concern has been whether the endometriosis itself can lower pregnancy rates with IVF.
A recent article in a respected medical journal by Opoien and colleagues compared the pregnancy rates in a group of infertile women with various stages (degrees) of endometriosis being treated with IVF for their infertility. Their pregnancy rates were compared to a group of women with infertility from blocked fallopian tubes from causes other than endometriosis (group two).
This large study was quite interesting in that it showed that the pregnancy rates in women with various degrees of endometriosis had similar pregnancy rates to those in group two. However, women with an endometrioma (cyst on the ovary with endometriosis) had lower pregnancy rates compared to women who had endometriosis but did not have an endometroima.
Since endometriosis is a common reason for doctors to recommend IVF to treat infertility, this paper is reassuring that overall, pregnancy rates do not decline due to the endometriosis.