If you’ve struggled with fibroid infertility complications, we’re here to help. In fact, as interventional radiologists in Houston, we may be the best experts to help you reclaim your fertility. After all, in addition to offering minimally invasive fibroid treatments, IR specialists can also clear blockages in your fallopian tubes using a procedure called fallopian tube recanalization. (After this procedure, women with blocked tubes report a 41% pregnancy rate. Which is much higher than IVF’s success rate.)
But how can we help when your fibroids are keeping you from getting pregnant? Well, many women go on to carry full-term healthy pregnancies after Uterine Fibroid Embolization. (Also called UFE, this is the procedure we perform in our Houston Interventional Radiologist practice.)
Now, if you’re not a candidate for UFE, you can still enjoy a happy ending to your fibroids infertility story. And, to help you keep the faith, we want to highlight a feel-good story we saw in Essence magazine. It’s one woman’s experience with fibroids infertility. But it’s also got a very happy ending: the arrival of her healthy baby girl. Which means it’s the news we need to read right now. And, while you’re reading, don’t forget that treating your fibroids will be important if you want to start or grow your family. That’s why we are here to help you start your treatment journey now, even if you’re months or years away from thoughts of growing families. And now, let’s get to the good stuff: Rachel James, our Woman Crush Wednesday, sharing her story.
Fibroids Infertility: What We Know
Before we get into Rachel’s story, a pause to discuss the science of this issue. According to findings in Contemporary OB/GYN, women with fibroids in their uterine cavity (submucosal) experience lower pregnancy and live birth rates. Women with intramural fibroids (growths that develop within the uterine walls) experience lower fertility rates. As such, the authors suggest women should treat their fibroids if they wish to have a baby. Still, they note that fibroids are the sole cause of infertility in just 2-3% of women.
Fibroids Infertility: Delayed
Rachel and her husband Terrence were married for a year when they realized fertility could be a challenge. They’d been trying, unsuccessfully, to conceive, so Rachel went to see her doctor. Quickly, she told Essence, she got her answer: “That’s when [I discovered that] I had ten fibroids.”
While a fibroid diagnosis doesn’t automatically cause infertility, these non-cancerous uterine tumors can interfere with conception, pregnancy and delivery. Knowing this, Rachel decided to have her fibroids surgically removed. Even after three operations in three years, however, Rachel didn’t get pregnant—and her fibroids grew back, each and every time. So, she and Terrence decided to work with a fertility clinic.
After four rounds of failed interventions, Rachel finally got pregnant in December 2018—even though her fibroids returned. As a result, her pregnancy was difficult—after all, she had three fibroids surrounding her placenta and one underneath her uterus. Rachel told Essence, “I was on bed rest for the first 14 weeks and was at the doctor three times a week for my entire pregnancy.”
Still, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. In August 2019, the couple welcomed Reyna, their healthy baby girl. And, following this joy, Rachel shared her story publicly. Her goal? To help other women with fibroids find strength: “I felt inadequate while going through this,” she explains. “But I had to realize that we’re human, we’re flawed, and everything is not going to work perfectly every time. I had to give myself grace.”
Growing Your Family with Fibroids
As fibroid specialists, we are always thrilled to hear of happy endings like Rachel’s. Yet we are also pained to hear of her struggle—especially her three invasive surgeries. That’s why, in our practice, we offer a minimally invasive fibroid treatment.
Known as Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), this procedure shrinks and kills fibroids by cutting off their blood supply. And we are able to do that by inserting a catheter (thin tube) through a vein in your wrist. You don’t have to stay overnight in the hospital. And you’re typically able to get up and walk within an hour of your procedure. Plus, having UFE doesn’t mean you can’t have a child, although we suggest discussing any fibroid treatment with your OB-GYN.
Are you dreaming of starting a family? We can start your fibroid treatment process right now! Even if you prefer to delay UFE until you’re ready to get pregnant, we can begin with a fibroid consultation, helping you clarify your options. So, if you’re ready to start your treatment journey, we’re ready to help. Reach out today and request a consultation. We can’t wait to help you get a happy ending of your own!