Saturday, February 20, 2010

South African Had Surgery for Stage 4 Endometriosis - Now What?


Hi, doc, I'm 30yrs old and recently had laparascopic surgery. I was diagnosed with stage iv endometriosis, most of it was removed. My fiance also has fertility issues. He was diagnosed with anti sperm antibodies. We are desperate to conceive and will meet our doctor next week to discuss our options. I would love your opinion on this matter?

Thank you, Regards from South Africa.


Dear M. from South Africa,

Stage IV endometriosis is the worst stage that you can have. This has definitely been shown to impair fertility via natural means. The problem is that the endometriosis has now impaired the pelvis and this is the path that the egg must take in order to reach the tube. Both the scar tissue formed from the endometriosis and surgery, and the inflammation caused by the endometriosis will interfere with the egg.

Most women with stage III or IV will not get pregnant naturally and will need to go directly to IVF. To these women I first recommend trying naturally after surgery for a 6 month period. You can either try on your own or with IUI, it doesn't really make that much of a difference. Most RE's would treat with Lupron or Letrozole after the laparoscopy for three months to remove any residual endometriosis prior to starting with a treatment.

Since your problem is combined with your partner's problem, then you have two major strikes against you. That would definitely make me strongly recommend IVF as the treatment of choice. That is not to say that you could not get pregnant without IVF. I have had a patient with stage four endometriosis that became pregnant spontaneously. However, the statistical chances of pregnancy is 1% or less.

Thank you for your question and good luck!

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program

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