Sunday, March 20, 2011
Young Canadian With Endometriosis: Will Have Six Month Window For TTC Post Surgery
Hi, I’m from Calgary, Alberta in Canada. I am 33 and my husband is 30, we are both healthy and we’ve been TTC unsuccessfully for 19 cycles. I have never been pregnant. We have been tested at the fertility clinic and told that there is no obvious reason why we shouldn't’t be able to conceive. I had blood work to check my hormone levels, an ultrasound to check my follicles and an HSG to make sure my tubes were open, my husband had a SA done and it showed good numbers and motility. He does have some antibodies, but less than 50%.
All that being said, I contracted chlamydia about 14 years ago, but it was treated quickly (I believe within 1-2 months). I have also been experiencing some symptoms of endo since going off the BC pill so I am a candidate for the laparoscopic surgery. The doctor said I could also try clomid or clomid with assisted insemination. I’m looking for additional guidance on how to proceed. Given that I have symptoms of endo, would you recommend that I proceed with the surgery before trying clomid or even IVF?
Thanks. J. from Canada
Hello J from Canada,
You pose an interesting question and the answer will be based on personal desires.
Given that your infertility evaluation has been negative thus far, and you are only 33 years old, if you want to attempt pregnancy by natural means (intercourse or IUI), then you should proceed with the laparoscopy. This is the only method that can diagnose endometriosis. It can be treated at the time surgically and then followed with a 3 month course of medication (Lupron depot) to eradicate any microscopic endometriosis. You will then be free to try on your own or with IUI for the next six months. That is the window of opportunity. If the laparoscopy shows that the endometriosis is stage 3 or 4, then IVF would be indicated.
Certainly if you decide to proceed with trying by natural mean after the laparoscopy, I would recommend an aggressive treatment plan because you need to try to get pregnant within six months. After six months there is a high chance that the endometriosis will return and you will be back to square one. By aggressive natural means, I mean ovulation induction with Clomid, Femara or injectables and either timed intercourse or IUI.
If you don't want to do the laparoscopy, then the best option would be to proceed with IVF. That is the decision that my wife and I made when we faced a similar point in our infertility evaluation and treatment. This is because IVF will bypass any endometriosis and you won't have to undertake the pain or risks of surgery. But, it is the most expensive way to go.
Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.