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Infertility

Is trying to get pregnant to risky?

10/26/2009

Question:

I am 32 years old with HPV and endometriosis. I have an 8 year old child, but have not been able to get pregnant after 2 years of trying. I have a very low progesterone level, always have had irregular periods, and for the past 4 years I will go about 3 months without a period at all. My regular doctor and Gyno have both told me there isn`t really anything they can do as long as I want to try and get pregnant, but I`m worried that I could be putting myself at risk for cancer or internal scarring from the endometriosis? Both my younger sisters have endometriosis, and 1 of them is getting a hysterectomy this week because it was causing scarring her bladder. Am I putting myself in danger of health problems, or is it okay to continue to try and get pregnant? If it is okay to continue to keep trying, is there anything I can do to help increase my odds, since my progesterone level is so low?(my insurance will not pay for any fertility drugs.)

Answer:

Endometriosis is common, but in most cases is not severe or progressive. When women want to get pregnant, it is most commonly treated laparoscopically. Once you are done having children, treatment with birth control pills is most common. Surgical treatment is only done for women with significant problems related to the endometriosis. Irregular periods and low progesterone usually indicate a problem with ovulation. A fertility expert can give you medication to make you ovulate and is likely to have other methods to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Although it is not possible to treat endometriosis with medication while trying to get pregnant, it is not likely that fertility treatments will increase the chances of endometriosis progressing. Pregnancy itself is believed to be a good treatment for endometriosis.

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Response by:

William W Hurd, MD William W Hurd, MD
Professor of Reproductive Biology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University