Can Endometriosis Cause Miscarriages?

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Can Endometriosis Increase The Risk Of Miscarriage?

No, there is not enough scientific evidence to say that endometriosis can cause a miscarriage. While there is no doubt that endometriosis can cause infertility, once a natural pregnancy has occurred, it should not interfere with the growth or development of the baby. In fact, due to hormone changes in the body, you may find your endometriosis symptoms go into remission for the period of your pregnancy.

Endometriosis And IVF Success

There is however some evidence to suggest that endometriosis can slightly increase the risk of implantation failure (the bedding down of the fetus into the womb) in couples who have fertility treatments like IVF or other assisted reproduction technologies (ART). This is possibly due to an autoimmune response in the pelvis, caused by the presence of endometriosis, which interferes with implantation. Technically this is called an immunological rejection of pregnancy. But just to confuse us - other reports contradict this evidence and suggest that despite its ability to effect natural conception, endometriosis does NOT reduce IVF success rates. Ever get the feeling we're just going round and round in circles....?

Laparoscopic Surgery Before IVF

An interesting report published in the Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology journal in 2011 found that women with endometriosis-related-infertility who underwent laparoscopy surgery to remove endometrial implants from their ovaries prior to IVF, showed NO improvement in IVF success rates. In fact, ovarian stimulation decreased in response to fertility drugs, compared to women who didn’t have the surgery. This suggests that the present standard of undergoing surgery before IVF treatment may need to be reconsidered. Of course, another report could come out tomorrow and prove the opposite.

Worth Knowing

Up to 70 percent of women diagnosed with minimal or mild endometriosis and infertility go on to give birth within 3 years of trying without fertility therapy. If you can't wait three years, consider consider trying alternative treatments for endometriosis or hormone therapy. Women with more advanced cases should consider having laparoscopic surgery. Although research shows that fertility in women is NOT improved by removing mild endometriosis, it can improve the chances of naturally conceiving in those with moderate to severe cases by as much as 40 percent. See also, what are the stages of endometriosis?

Personal Stories

I asked my doctor when I became pregnant if there was a risk of miscarriage because I had endometriosis. He said NO, definitely not. He told me that while it causes fertility problems, once you get pregnant it doesn't interfere with pregnancy. In fact, when you become pregnant, ovulation stops, so hormone levels change and endometriosis quietens down and symptoms disappear. I gave birth to a healthy baby boy with no issues outside of the dreaded morning sickness.
June T, Ohio.

I'm 35 and have endometriosis. I suffered two miscarriages, but the doctors said there was no proof that it was the endometriosis. I'm not sure they really know for sure. I had laparoscopy to remove some of the scar tissue and then I injected Lupron for 6 months. Then my doctor gave me a 50mg round of Clomid. We conceived a daughter straight away.
Audrey P, Texas.

I didn't suffer any miscarriages, I just couldn't get pregnant. I was diagnosed with stage 4, the most severe version. It was all over my bowels, fallopian tubes and the ovaries had stuck to the bowels. I was taking Lupron injections for 6 months, then I had endometriosis surgery to unstick all the parts that had been glued together. We tried to conceive naturally on our own for 5 months with no luck before heading for IVF. It took us 3 IVF cycles, but I think that's fairly average, before we finally became pregnant. We went on to give birth to a wonderful set of twins. So never give up hope, however severe the disease is.
Hannah, LA.

Related Questions
• Prognosis and other health concerns: Can endometriosis lead to cancer?
• Menstrual problems and irregular periods: Can endometriosis cause missed periods?
• How doctors diagnose the condition: Can endometriosis be seen on ultrasound?
• Chemical pregnancy: Is it possible to be a little bit pregnant?
• If you are considering ART: How can I improve my chance of IVF success?
• More advanced ART therapies: What is egg donation?

• Need more information about? See: Endometriosis Guide
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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