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IVF Endometriosis - A Complete Overview

Endometriosis affects the fertility of approximately 40% of women who have been diagnosed with the disease. For many of these women, they only find out they have endometriosis when the possible causes of their infertility is being investigated. They may not have experienced any of the debilitating symptoms that many endometriosis sufferers do or they may have thought that their symptoms were a normal part of their menstrual cycle.

Most of the scientific research that has been conducted into endometriosis and infertility links the fertility problems with more advanced cases of endometriosis. The disease is classified by the extent of the spread of endometrial tissue outside the uterus and by the frequency and severity of the actual lesions or implants. There are 4 stages of endometriosis that are accepted by the medical profession worldwide. Stage I and II are mild to moderate, while Stages III and IV are moderate to severe.

Studies show that infertility mostly occurs when the endometriosis is at Stage III or IV. This is possibly because, in these more advanced stages, scar tissue or adhesions pull organs out of alignment in the abdominal cavity making ovulation and fertilization more difficult. Some scientists believe that the actual endometrial implants provide an environment that is not conducive to fertilization and pregnancy.

Endometriosis affects fertility in a variety of ways, not all of which are fully understood. Endometrial tissue can block the fallopian tubes, making fertilization of the egg by sperm difficult or impossible. Endometriomas on the ovaries can affect egg production, quality and release. Endometriosis symptoms can affect a woman's emotions, mood and lifestyle which in turn can limit her fertility.

There are several options available to treat infertility caused by endometriosis. When a diagnosis of endometriosis is confirmed and the lesion sites located, the doctor will have a better idea of how to proceed. Some lesions may be removed surgically or medication may be prescribed in an attempt to reduce the endometrial implants. For some women, no treatment helps her fertility and so different types of Assisted Reproductive Technology may be considered; of these IVF is the most common.

IVF stands for In Vitro Fertilization; it is the best treatment to achieve pregnancy for many women who have endometriosis. If a patient has fertility issues that cannot be accurately diagnosed or corrected, IVF may be her best option for successful pregnancy. The process combines female eggs with male sperm in a laboratory to achieve fertilization; the embryo is then implanted into her uterus.

It is a complex procedure that starts with hormone therapy to prompt her ovaries to produce multiple eggs at the same time. When the eggs are mature, they are collected from her ovaries. These eggs are then be fertilized in the laboratory with sperm and allowed to develop into embryos, before being implanted into her uterus. Sometimes more than one egg is successfully fertilized in the lab and multiple embryos may be established. These can be frozen and saved for use in future attempts, should the first one fail to take successfully. Some women need several attempts before pregnancy is achieved.

IVF is a common procedure these days and has helped many endometriosis sufferers achieve pregnancy, when they had been unsuccessful using natural or others methods of Assisted Reproductive Technology. There are specialist fertility clinics around the country and overseas with teams of professional to help the patients through every step of the process.

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