The Key to Fertility: Why You Might Need A GYN Specialist
Infertility, or the inability to conceive children, affects about 12% of women in the U.S. Many women turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF) for medical assistance with getting pregnant, but expensive fertility treatments may leave complex gynecological conditions hidden.
To become pregnant, women need their ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus to be in optimal condition and functioning properly, but GYN conditions like large fibroids or endometriosis can impair or block these vital organs. To increase your chances of a successful round of IVF, it’s best to find a specialist to treat these conditions before pursuing fertility treatments.
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Fibroids and Infertility
Fibroids, noncancerous growths in the uterus, affect approximately 80% of women by age 50. Depending on their location, fibroids can make it difficult to become pregnant and increase the risk of pregnancy loss or miscarriage.
Many physicians tell their patients to “watch and wait” and suggest fibroids will not interfere with a healthy pregnancy. But “watch and wait” is not a treatment and allowing fibroids to grow can intensify symptoms and increase risks.
Preliminary results from the CIGC Women’s Health Survey show delaying care for fibroids results in heightened pain and larger fibroids over time. Of respondents younger than 45 who were diagnosed with fibroids, about half said their doctor recommended a “watch and wait” approach. But for those who did decide to wait on treatment, more than 78% said their symptoms worsened during the “watch and wait” period. Of those who did eventually have their fibroids removed surgically, nearly 90% said the size of their fibroids had increased.
Because fibroid growth is often influenced by estrogen, the chance that fibroids will grow during pregnancy is high. While fibroids may start out small, they can become larger with enhanced levels of estrogen during pregnancy, making complications like fetal growth restriction, placental abruption and preterm delivery more likely. For the best chance of a healthy and successful full-term pregnancy, fibroids should be addressed before trying to conceive.
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Endometriosis and Infertility
Endometriosis occurs when tissue from the uterus begins to grow outside of it. Lesions of this tissue can implant anywhere in the pelvis and, if any of the reproductive organs are involved, make conceiving difficult.
These lesions can block fallopian tubes, cause inflammation in the uterus that prevents implantation of a fertilized egg or disrupt the proper functioning of one or both ovaries. Severe endometriosis can result in the development of ovarian cysts, which often make surgical removal necessary before pursuing fertility treatments.
Endometriosis develops through stages, but even mild cases of the disease can make conception more complicated. Not everyone with endometriosis experiences its hallmark symptoms of pelvic pain and irregular bleeding, but the absence of symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not affecting fertility.
For those who do manage to become pregnant, even with untreated endometriosis, the disease can still increase the risk of pregnancy complications such as preterm delivery, preeclampsia and problems with the placenta. Removing lesions through minimally invasive excision surgery before trying to get pregnant is the best course of action to avoid those high risks.
Plan Your Fertility Care
Many insurance plans do not cover IVF, and many states do not require fertility treatment coverage under employer health care plans either. With open enrollment season coming up, make sure you have the coverage you need for fertility treatment. Our patient advocacy team can help you make sense of your insurance policy so you can use your benefits to their fullest potential.
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Find a GYN Specialist Before Undergoing IVF
Fertility treatments like IVF can cost upward of $12,000 for just one cycle of treatment. With medication, that cost may rise to well over $20,000. One round of IVF and its associated hormone medications can be a lot for your body to handle, so it’s in your best interest to go into it with the greatest chance of success.
Fertility specialists are experts in solving problems with fertility and conception, but they are not GYN experts. Being under the care of a fertility specialist doesn’t necessarily mean any underlying gynecological conditions are being addressed. GYN conditions that are left untreated can lead to an unsuccessful round of IVF and an expensive loss of money.
We want you to have the best chance at creating the family you’ve dreamed of, so let’s set you up for success before you seek IVF or other fertility treatments. CIGC specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating conditions like fibroids and endometriosis. We’ll help you feel better faster — so you can make room for the important things in life.
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CIGC is dedicated to helping women find relief from complex GYN conditions, many of which affect fertility and family planning desires. The CIGC founders, minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Paul MacKoul, MD, and Natalya Danilyants, MD, developed their advanced GYN surgical techniques using only two small incisions with patients’ well-being in mind.
Their personalized approach to care helps patients gain a better understanding of their condition and the recommended treatment so they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed more than 25,000 GYN procedures and are constantly striving to improve outcomes for patients.