PCOS is a significant cause of infertility. In fact, polycystic ovarian syndrome is the number one cause of infertility in women in the United States.
PCOS increases androgen levels in the ovary, which causes a lack of ovulation, or irregular ovulation. The unnatural level of androgen interferes with the normal growth of follicles, which are cysts carrying eggs (ova) in the ovary. You are born with millions of ova which develop into follicles during normal cycles.
One of these follicles eventually releases the egg (ovulation) creating fertility. PCOS reduces your odds of becoming pregnant by reducing the number of ovulation cycles per year. The syndrome can also cause minor ovulation defects; even cycles that appear ovulatory could be less than ideal for fertility if you are not under treatment.
REASONS FOR HOPE
If you want to become pregnant, options are available. Your treatment plan should be customized to your individual situation. The recent explosion of research in PCOS and its connection with insulin resistance has added more and better treatment options for patients. Here is a summary:
Ovulation rates are up to 90 percent and average pregnancy rates of 50 percent have been seen.
Many women who undergo this procedure will eventually return to having irregular periods.
Diet modification and exercise
An example would be a reduced carbohydrate diet, and regular, structured exercise. Of course, you should consider looking at other reasons for infertility before committing to fertility treatments for PCOS.
A semen analysis (sperm count) is recommended to see if the problem is with the male. For women, a common procedure is to have the fallopian tubes checked with a rapid x-ray screening test called an HSG hysterosalpingogram), in which dye is injected into the uterus and seen to flow out of the tubes on a monitor screen.
Also, a laparoscopy can be performed, in which a small incision is made in the umbilicus and a scope with a video connection is inserted to further evaluate the inside of the pelvis. This is normally a short, sameday surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia