Endometriosis is a common condition, affecting over 7 million women in the USA. It is a common cause of pelvic pain, and unfortunately a medical condition which is associated with huge implications for fertility. While clinically diverse, it is generally progressive and over time significantly reduces ovarian reserve for women. This reduction in ovarian reserve can be even at a young age. For the majority of women diagnosed with endometriosis they are likely to need in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) to conceive. Even with IVF, women with endometriosis will produce fewer eggs due to the reduced ovarian reserve, and may make fewer good quality embryos. This may lead to lower success rates compared to other women with different causes of infertility, at the same age.
Time is crucial for women with endometriosis, particularly if the severity is high, such as stage 3 or 4. Interestingly pregnancy itself is very helpful and actually often improves the level of endometriosis!
However, in event a woman with endometriosis is not ready to be pregnant and have a baby at that point in her life, the latest medical advice is that she should consider elective egg freezing. This treatment is now being done by many women, as freezing eggs at a younger age offers security against lower fertility due to egg number or quality, which occurs as a woman ages. For a woman with endometriosis and a markedly accelerated impact of age, the benefits are even greater.