Endometriosis: becoming a mother is possible
Publication date: 18-05-2021
Updated on: 14-02-2023
Estimated reading time: 1 min
We talked about endometriosis, its origins and correlation with infertility to Dr. Lucia Maragno, specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics, who has been working for over 10 years at the Center for Reproductive Medicine Biogenesis at Istituti Clinici Zucchi in Monza.
Endometriosis and infertility
Endometriosis is a chronic relapsing disease in females that affects between 2% and 10% of Italian women, with an estimated total of about 3 million cases (1). It is important to note that about 50% of infertile women suffer from it as well (2). The highest incidence rate of endometriosis occurs in women of 25-35 years, although the disease often appears among younger age groups.
It is one of the most feared female diseases, because it is often linked to the impossibility of having children. At the same time, it is the most mysterious and unknown disease due to the difficulty of diagnosis, which is often made late. Characterised by the abnormal presence of endometrium outside the uterus, endometriosis causes a state of chronic inflammation.
"Without adequate treatment, endometriosis cause formation of adhesions in the ovaries and tubes which causes infertility. Early diagnosis is crucial for preserving woman's chance to conceive, to carry a pregnancy to term and to give birth to a healthy baby," explains Dr. Maragno.
Symptoms of the endometriosis
Most often, women decide to undergo a medical check-up because of the pain, among which:
- severe menstrual pain (secondary dysmenorrhoea), which has not been experienced before;
- chronic pelvic pain;
- pain during intercourse.
For early diagnosis it is important that the specialist does not exclude the suspicion of endometriosis even when the abdominal and pelvic examination, ultrasound and MRI are negative.
“A specialist visit for further evaluation and diagnostic tests should be considered, if symptoms persist and/or there’s a clinical suspicion. It will help to make a definite diagnosis in time and to prevent the consequences of this pathology on fertility,” warns Dr. Maragno.
How to preserve fertility: oocyte vitrification
“Oocyte vitrification is a technique that allows to preserve a number of a woman's mature eggs by freezing them. It could be an advisable option once endometriosis has been diagnosed at a young age.
This will allow woman to undergo all necessary treatment and then, if a spontaneous pregnancy is not an option, to resort to medically assisted procreation using her own eggs,” continues Dr. Maragno.
Center for reproductive medicine biogenesis
“At Biogenesis, the cryopreservation process of oocytes and embryos is carried out through the use of automated vitrification, which allows better control over all variables involved in the method, crucial for ensuring the standardisation of results.”
1. Data from the Italian Ministry of Health, 2019
2. ESHRE source: Guideline of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology: “Management of women with endometriosis”, September 2013.