PMA and endometriosis: which route to take?

PMA et endométriose : quel parcours ?
Written with Samantha Load

Relecture professionnelle

For women with endometriosis, the uterine lining develops in places where it's not supposed to, i.e. in the genitals, vagina, rectum, bladder, etc. It's usually during menstruation that the pain occurs, as the body is unable to eliminate these lesions, leading to inflammation and damage.

Why can endometriosis cause infertility?

It is estimated that 35-55% of people with fertility problems suffer from endometriosis, and 30-40% of people with endometriosis will have infertility problems. So, not all women with endometriosis are affected by it.

What's the link between endometriosis and infertility?

Endometriosis can be responsible for infertility, since it involves a number of mechanisms, such as :

  • a reduction in follicular reserve, notably linked to the presence of endometriosis cysts, which invade the ovary and destroy the eggs inside.

  • ovulation disorders linked to hormonal anomalies or the presence of cysts in the ovaries

  • disorders of embryo implantation linked to increased IgC and IgA antibodies and lymphocytes in the endometrium

  • fertilization abnormalities

  • oocyte uptake disorders

  • gamete transport disorders

The main causes of infertility are anatomical lesions that create an inflammatory climate harmful to fertilization, and altered ovarian reserve, particularly when the patient has had endometriosis cysts.

Certain surgical procedures can also have an impact on fertility. Women suffering from endometriosis may also suffer from dyspareunia, which makes intercourse more difficult, and thus increases the chances of pregnancy.

What treatment is there for endometriosis when you want to become pregnant?

When a couple encounters difficulties in conceiving a child, the first step is to carry out a battery of tests to determine the cause of infertility. Infertility can come from either the woman or the man, and depending on its origin, the solutions for supporting the pregnancy project will not be the same. A woman with endometriosis is not necessarily infertile. Consult a doctor who will be able to guide you.

Women suffering from endometriosis have a number of options to help them achieve pregnancy if it doesn't come about naturally. Surgery or medically-assisted procreation may be proposed to the patient, depending on her personal choices, symptoms, etc...

What kind of surgery for endometriosis?

When hormonal treatment is not sufficient to relieve endometriosis and/or the condition continues to cause infertility, surgery may be useful.

The value of this operation is being studied in cases where endometriosis is painful, and in cases of infertility where there is a desire for pregnancy.

The first step is to determine the location and nature of the endometriosis lesions. There are several ways of proceeding:

  • by eliminating the lesions, either with the laser technique, laser vaporization or coagulation

  • removing lesions by excision

The presence of small lesions can complicate the operation, as can the presence of lesions in other areas, such as functional organs like the bladder, rectum or colon. Surgical intervention becomes more complex.

Most of the time, this operation is performed under laparoscopy, but in the case of deeper endometriosis, it can be performed by laparotomy, i.e. opening the abdominal tract.

Following this operation, some patients are able to become pregnant naturally. For others, it's more complicated, and PMA may be considered.

How does PMA work?

There are several types of medically assisted reproduction techniques. The first is artificial insemination. Artificial insemination, the simplest and least expensive technique, involves injecting sperm into the woman's uterus during ovulation.

Another MAP technique is IVF (in vitro fertilization). This is a much more invasive technique, in which sperm and egg are brought together directly in the laboratory. Mature follicles, whose production is stimulated by hormones, are harvested, and when the embryo is viable, it is implanted in the woman's uterus, 2 to 5 days after the egg meets the sperm.

There is also IVF ICSI, i.e. In Vitro Fertilization with microinjection. This technique is suitable for male infertility, as it selects the most suitable spermatozoa.

Samantha: endometriosis and infertility

Samantha explains that it was during an appointment with her gynecologist, when she described her symptoms and in particular the severe pain she felt during her periods, that her gynecologist told her about endometriosis. She then prescribed further tests to confirm the diagnosis of endometriosis, with more extensive examinations. Once the tests were completed, the verdict was in: she had endometriosis.

Endometriosis is the cause of her infertility. Her endometriosis manifests itself in multiple small lesions.

Following this diagnosis, Samantha was given a choice of two solutions to deal with her infertility. The first was surgery. This involved the destruction of all endometriotic lesions, enabling the patient to become pregnant naturally. After 6 months of trying to get pregnant naturally, Samantha was offered the option of moving on to a PMA program, including conventional IVF, or In Vitro Fertilization. Samantha explains that each pathway is different, but that for her, she had an initial injection of hormones on the first day of her period, followed by an injection every morning and evening for around 20 days.

The aim of the injections is to enlarge the follicles. Regular checks are carried out to ensure that the follicles are progressing correctly, are the right size and are harvested at the right time. Two days before the puncture, Samantha had a final injection of hormones to trigger ovulation.

For Samantha, the puncture took place under local anaesthetic, but it is also possible to do it under general anaesthetic. All the follicles are removed, and sperm is donated at the same time. The harvested follicles are then brought into contact with sperm to create embryos.

Finally, it is necessary to wait until a follicle is of good quality before it can be implanted. In Samantha's case, the most resistant follicle is implanted 2 days after puncture, at which point the viability of the embryo must be checked regularly. You have to wait between the moment of implantation and the level of the beta HCG test, the pregnancy hormone. Pregnancy tests are forbidden during this time, as the hormone injections can distort the results. After the blood test, beta HCG levels should be checked every 48 hours. The pregnancy can then proceed as normal!

Back to blog

Our best sellers

1 of 8

The information contained in the articles on is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.