Infertility, Endometriosis, and How Egg Donation Can Help
Endometriosis is a common condition that can interfere with your pregnancy plan. Many people with the condition are able to get pregnant and have a baby without fertility treatment, but nearly half of those with endometriosis will have difficulty conceiving due to its adverse effect on the reproductive organs, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes (the tubes in which the egg cells travel to the uterus). Endometriosis often seems like a huge barrier to getting pregnant, but all hope is not lost; several successful treatments exist. One such treatment is egg donation.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disorder involving uterine tissue cells that grow outside the uterus, such as on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and other organs in the pelvis. It may be challenging to get pregnant, particularly when these growths form scar tissue that blocks the fallopian tubes. Symptoms of endometriosis include irregular menstrual cycles, scar tissue, and pelvic pain.
Every person with endometriosis has a unique challenge to face. Depending on the degree of endometriosis, some people may have extensive growths, while others may have minor abnormalities.
How Endometriosis Affects Fertility
The primary way in which endometriosis can affect fertility is by forming a blockage of the fallopian tubes. These blocked or scarred tubes prevent your ability to become pregnant. The condition can also result in fluid accumulation in the follicles, interfering with normal egg maturation. Immature eggs cannot be fertilized.
People with endometriosis often develop cysts called endometriomas on the ovaries. These cysts may cause hormonal imbalances, which often adversely affect egg quality and quantity (ovarian reserve). Another factor impacting the quality of the eggs is inflammation, caused by endometrial tissue growing where it shouldn’t develop. This inflammation can result in a toxic environment for the eggs.
What is Ovarian Reserve?
Ovarian reserve refers to the number and quality of eggs in the ovaries; as you age, your ovarian reserve decreases, particularly as you begin experiencing menopausal symptoms. Your ovarian reserve is essential to getting pregnant because the egg quality and quantity determine whether they can be fertilized.
Egg Donation and Endometriosis
Many people with endometriosis who wish to have a child consider in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, if their ovarian reserve is low, IVF using one’s own eggs may not result in the best outcome. IVF with egg donation has proven successful for many people with low ovarian reserve from endometriosis.
Why Consider Egg Donation?
Donor eggs may be recommended in certain circumstances, such as for those with endometriosis who:
- Don’t respond to ovarian stimulation
- Have a low quality or quantity of egg production
- Have severe endometriosis that adversely impacts the ovaries
- Are in their mid-forties or older with infertility problems
If your fertility specialist has confirmed that your ovarian reserve is low, using an egg donor may provide a way for you to get pregnant and have a healthy baby.
During the egg donation process, an egg is retrieved from a screened egg donor, and you can choose the sperm donor (e.g., your partner, a sperm donor, etc.). Once the egg is fertilized in the lab, any resulting embryos can be implanted in your uterus, enabling you to carry the pregnancy to full term and deliver the baby. Learn more about how egg donation works here.
Donor Egg Success Rates
Studies show that the same pregnancy rates occurred, after IVF with egg donation, in people with severe endometriosis – pregnancy rates were 61% – as those without endometriosis. A woman with endometriosis who becomes pregnant can generally carry the pregnancy to full term, giving birth to a healthy baby.
A Word from West Coast Egg Donation
When you have endometriosis and fertility problems, you may feel hopeless, worried, angry, or depressed. At West Coast Egg Donation, we understand your frustration. Don’t forget that there is hope. West Coast Egg Donation has helped many people with endometriosis have normal pregnancies and healthy babies. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff is happy to answer questions or provide information on the egg donation process. Contact us today to learn about our team approach and how we can support you during every step of your family planning journey.