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Does endometriosis make age-related infertility worse?

(12 Posts)
Squirrel77 Tue 05-Jul-11 21:36:13

Hi all,

I have been lurking here for a while and thought I'd introduce myself and ask for a bit of advice if possible!

I'm nearly 34 years old and trying to figure out when to begin TTC.

I had surgery to remove endometriosis two years ago. It was growing on the uterus and bowel. I was on the pill for 1.5 years after that and am now on the Mirena. The endo symptoms are not serious but have unfortunately returned fairly recently.

I was wondering whether anyone out there knows whether endo-related infertility gets worse with age? DH and I are keen to start a family, but as I am one year into a three year university course and for a few other reasons, we'd prefer to put it off until at least February 2012, maybe longer. But if things are likely to be deteriorating, I'd be keen to start trying earlier.

I had tests for LH/FSH which are normal, and DH's sperm is ok too!

Any advice appreciated, thanks in advance!

RuthChan Wed 06-Jul-11 21:06:32

I have recently learned through a friend's experiences that endometriosis can indeed cause the eggs to deteriorate and lose quality at a younger age than in non-sufferers. She is 35 and really struggling to conceive DC2, apparently due to a lack of good-quality eggs, caused by her endometriosis.
This is something that you might want to discuss with your doctor.
You will probably be told that you should not delay any more if you want to conceive naturally.

TigerseyeMum Wed 06-Jul-11 23:02:09

I have endo and am 37, I would not delay ttc as it may take a long time to conceive anyway. I have been trying 1 year and nothing so far. My sister tried ttc #2 at my age and nothing happened.

You can do your degree another time but once fertility is gone, it's gone.

Maryz Wed 06-Jul-11 23:12:09

I have endometriosis, and it took me 9 years to get pregnant. Sorry, but if you are absolutely sure you want children, I would be inclined to go for it sooner than later.

But it is also true that being on the pill (and I think the coil), reduces the severity of endometriosis, because of having fewer and lighter periods. So if I were you I would have a chat with your doctor before doing anything drastic.

kiteflying Thu 07-Jul-11 08:01:57

I had endometriosis and I tried and failed to get pregnant in my late twenties, and although the endo had cleared up by the time I met my DP in my thirties, I struggled with egg quantity and quality when we were doing IVF. Please don't wait. It is heartbreaking feeling like you have missed the boat because you were busy doing other things. You may find your endo improves with any improvements in diet, supplements etc you build into your life once you are TTC. I cut out dairy and soy products because they are supposed to be phyto-oestrogens and encourage endo.
You are already teetering on the brink of what reproductive specialists call the danger years after the age of 35 - and that is for women who have not had endo.
Sorry, trying not to sound as brutal as I know the 'experts' out there sound when they tut tut about women waiting. If you really feel you need to get your degree done before you start then maybe you are not ready to TTC, but if you feel like you can defer everything else, then do what you can while the clock is not against you as well as your repro health. Have you thought about egg banking?

Squirrel77 Thu 07-Jul-11 12:55:09

Hi all, thanks for your wise advice. I hadn't realised that endometriosis affected egg quality. I'm going to see my doctor tomorrow for some further advice. It looks like DH and I may need to get cracking sooner rather than later, even though this might cause some changes to our current plans re university and other big decisions. We really had hoped to put it off for a while, but don't want to 'miss the boat'! Thanks again.

Maryz Thu 07-Jul-11 15:05:36

You do realise that sod's law dictates that if you ttc now you will get pregnant within a month, thus delaying your degree and putting pressure on your finances, whereas if you wait three years (until you are actually ready), you will take years more to conceive hmm.

You have to decide which would be the better scenario for you. Best of luck smile.

kiteflying Fri 08-Jul-11 09:04:36

P.S - I have not had any endo since my first pregnancy five years ago (proven in the course of one lap and two hysteroscopies for other things over the past two years). So there may be some truth in the myth that pregnancy hormones can cure the condition. Or it might have been my fertility-hopeful diet etc.

Squirrel77 Fri 08-Jul-11 13:54:54

Thanks folks! Yes, I feel like sod's law is highly likely! Anyway, I went to the GP today who has referred me to an endo specialist (my last treatment for it was abroad). So hopefully they will have a bit more advice for me on what to do.

Anyone have experience of gynaecologists doing fertility type tests on endometriosis patients before TTC to check out how the ovaries, fallopian tubes etc are doing? Or do they normally make you TTC before doing those types of investigations?

kiteflying Sat 09-Jul-11 00:47:10

You can have a hysterosalpingogram to check if your tubes are open but it hurts and costs about 250 pounds. You can have an OST with a fertility clinic to check whether your ovaries respond to FSH hormone (but this can vary from month to month so it is a pretty stupid test to be honest, and anyway you will be trying naturally so won't be anywhere near a clinic if you can help it) or an AMF to check your ovarian reserve?, which you might be able to get done outside of a clinic - not sure.
You probably don't want to go through any of this without TTC first though.

Maryz Sat 09-Jul-11 10:04:15

Ultimately, the only way to know whether you can conceive is to actually do it. While tests can show that you are theoretically fertile (i.e. tubes not completely blocked, ovaries working etc), there are so many variables that it is impossible to know whether you can get pregnant until you try.

I didn't realise that I had endometriosis until I went for investigations having been unable to conceive. At that stage I had been not using contraception (but not really "trying") for two years and I was 26. I went on various (horrible) drugs for varying amounts of time, and had an operation. Eventually we adopted ds1 (when I was 31), then had a couple of failed IVFs and adopted dd. At that stage I was told I would never get pregnant (and indeed was very happy with the children I had). Then out of the blue I suddenly got pregnant and had ds2, 9 years after being diagnosed hmm. Personally I think it was the harsh drug treatment during IVF that cleared me up inside grin.

What I'm trying to say is that you can go to see lots of doctors, have loads of investigations, even have a couple of procedures, but you won't know whether or not it will happen for you until you try. So if having a baby is important to you, I wouldn't wait. I hope it works out for you smile.

Squirrel77 Mon 11-Jul-11 21:23:38

Hi, thanks for your advice about the options. On the waiting list to see the specialist, so will see how it goes with the NHS and what tests they might be able to assist with. Based on what you are saying, I think we'll be starting TTC sooner rather than later- a little scary, but exciting!

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