Did you know that endometriosis affects approximately 1 in 10 women of reproductive age?(1) In this blog, we explore the correlation between endometriosis, infertility and egg quality.
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus – typically in the pelvis, fallopian tubes and around the ovaries.
The misplaced tissue responds to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle each month, leading to inflammation, swelling, and scarring of the normal tissue surrounding the affected areas. This can cause pain, cramps, heavier periods, and other symptoms. However, it’s estimated that 20 to 25 percent of endometriosis patients are asymptomatic (2), known as silent endometriosis. In cases of silent endometriosis, women may not discover their diagnosis until they are experiencing unexplained infertility.
Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of female infertility – studies show that up to 50% of women with endometriosis struggle to conceive. Although the correlation between infertility and endometriosis is not clearly understood, possible causes include:
How exactly does endometriosis cause infertility? It likely has to do with egg quality rather than implantation, meaning IVF using donor eggs may be a good option for women with endometriosis. Studies have concluded that infertility in endometriosis patients is most likely due to the effect the disease has on ooctye or embryo quality rather than implantation.
Do recipient patients with endometriosis have success with donor eggs? Yes, women with endometriosis have fairly high success rates when they undergo IVF using donor eggs from a woman who does not have endometriosis. Studies show that the presence of endometriosis in a donor egg recipient does not lower implantation or pregnancy rates. (4)
Depending on the severity, it may be advised for women with endometriosis to use donor eggs to pursue a pregnancy. Deciding to use donor eggs is an emotional journey, and it’s not the path anyone envisions when they first begin trying for a baby. If you are coping with a diagnosis of endometriosis and considering using donor eggs, we encourage you to take advantage of all the resources that are available to you, such as reading heartfelt experiences from other women who have gone through similar journeys. If you are interested in discussing your situation and exploring your options, our team is always here to help.
For more information on endometriosis treatment and support, visit the Endometriosis Foundation of America.