Do infertility and fibroids go together? That’s a very good question Of course, for women who haven’t completed their families, a fibroid diagnosis can be scary. So one of the first questions we hear from patients is often, “Can I still have a baby with fibroid tumors?”
The answer is, unfortunately, not completely clear cut. Without treatment, some women still won’t be able to get pregnant. But many women will have trouble conceiving without some kind of fibroid treatment. And that’s just the beginning of the story.
Eve’s Story: A Long Journey to Pregnancy
While rap icon Eve and her husband Maximillion Cooper now have a gorgeous baby (see pic at right) their journey wasn’t easy. You see, Eve told Tamron Hall, fibroids got in the way of her pregnancy for far too long.
After several failed rounds of IVF, she says, “I ended up going to a specialist. They told me, ‘I don’t care: you can do 20 rounds [of IVF], you can have all the sex you want – you’re never going to get pregnant because you have so many fibroids that your uterus actually already thinks it’s already pregnant.”
Even worse, she said her teen years were filled with heavy periods and other warning symptoms. Yet she never received a fibroids diagnosis until this late in the game. Luckily, she figured out something was wrong and got her healthy baby! But other women need to know more about fibroids and pregnancy, so they can also get a happy ending.
Infertility and Fibroids Size
If fibroids stay small, or develop in places where fertility isn’t affected, you may get pregnant without problems. But if your fibroids get large, they may physically block your egg from joining up with male sperm.
Then, even if the sperm and egg can join together, a large fibroid could stop the new embryo from implanting in your uterine lining. And, even if an embryo does implant, an untreated tumor can negatively impact your developing fetus.
So, that’s the bad news…at least part of it. Because fibroids can also affect women’s fertility in other, less obvious, ways.
How Fibroids Change Your Body
While some changes are subtle, others may cause big problems for your health. Some women experience cervix shape changes due to fibroids. If that happens to you, it can limit sperm entering your uterus. And that’s not all. These growths can also change the shape of your uterus. Which could decrease the number of places where an embryo can successfully implant. Finally, can weaken your uterine cavity lining. They can also decrease the amount of blood reaching a growing fetus. And both of these issues could lead to miscarriage.
Fibroids Don’t Have to End Your Fertility Journey
With all the tolls fibroids can take on your reproductive system, there is still good news: many women who have been diagnosed with fibroids go on to have one or more children. While many women used to automatically undergo hysterectomy (complete removal of the uterus) after learning they had fibroids, these days there are many fertility-preserving options.
Many women who plan on having children will choose to have a myomectomy (surgically remove the uterine fibroid.) Other women will choose to have a less invasive procedure, like Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE), that shrinks their fibroids by permanently cutting off the non-cancerous tumor’s blood supply. Although the research is not conclusive, many women who have UFE have been able to move on and complete their families in the way they want.
If you’re choosing UFE vs Myomectomy, talk to your doctor and our specialists. That way, you can fully understand the impact of your choice. Also, you may benefit from the infographic at right, reposted from the New England Journal of Medicine.
A fibroid diagnosis can certainly be scary, especially if you aren’t done having children, but in this case, knowledge really is power. Getting informed about all your options and choosing the best solution for your family will go a long way towards keeping fibroids from derailing your reproductive plans.
Ready to learn more? We’re here to help you! Just reach out and request an appointment with our fibroid experts in Houston. We can help you decide if you’re a good candidate for UFE, and how that may affect your fertility journey.