Reproductive Surgery for Female Infertility
Surgical Procedures for Restoring or Improving Reproduction
In some cases, infertility is caused by anatomical or structural issues in one or more of your reproductive organs. In these scenarios, your fertility specialist may recommend undergoing fertility surgery to help improve your chances of getting pregnant. If the idea of reproductive surgery gives you concern, rest assured that most of these procedures are minimally invasive.
When Is Fertility Surgery Recommended?
Many fertility conditions are treated using medications or assisted reproductive techniques, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI). However, sometimes the cause of infertility is an anatomical abnormality that prevents the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and/or uterus from functioning properly. Reproductive surgery can address these anatomical abnormalities and potentially restore reproductive function.
The Advantages of Reproductive Surgery
Because reproductive surgery involves removing abnormalities that are impacting your ability to get pregnant or sustain a pregnancy, the primary advantage of such procedures is that they may restore reproductive function and make it possible for you to successfully have a child.
While the idea of having surgery may seem scary, most reproductive surgery procedures are minimally invasive procedures performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you don’t have to stay in a hospital during your recovery. Instead, you can recover in the comfort of your own home.
Thanks to advanced technology and the expertise of our reproductive surgeons, Indiana Fertility Institute patients can rest easy knowing that their procedures will be performed with the utmost accuracy using very small incisions. We also take extra care to ensure your recovery time is as quick and painless as possible.
Reproductive Surgery, Explained
Reproductive surgeries can be used both as a diagnostic method and as a treatment for fertility issues relating to anatomical abnormalities of the reproductive system. They are typically performed using an endoscope, which is a surgical instrument designed for viewing the inside of the body. An endoscope consists of a thin flexible tube, an illuminating light source, and a camera, which transmits images in real-time to a monitor, allowing a better view of the body’s internal structures. Reproductive surgeries are either laparoscopic or hysteroscopic. Reproductive laparoscopic surgeries involve inserting a small telescope into the pelvic region or abdomen, whereas hysteroscopic surgeries involve inserting a lighted tube into the body to assess the cervix and uterus.
Common Reproductive Surgical Procedures
Going through reproductive surgery can feel very intimidating. Making the decision to undergo these procedures can make many feel apprehensive or even scared. The fertility doctors of Indiana Fertility Institute understand the many emotions and challenges that come up when making decisions about fertility care and are dedicated to guiding you through all your options to make sure you’re making the best choice for your family-building needs. Not only will they help you understand the advantages of these procedures, but they will also walk you through everything you need to know and address all of your concerns.
Endometriosis is a reproductive condition in which endometrial tissue (i.e. the tissue that lines the walls of the uterus) grows in other parts of the body, most commonly in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, pelvic region, and abdominal area. Endometriosis is thought to affect about 10% of women and girls across the globe.
Although common, endometriosis is not always easy to diagnose. Symptoms can vary widely from patient to patient. Furthermore, the severity of symptoms (or lack thereof) is not always an accurate indicator of how severe the growth of the endometrial tissue is. The most common signs of endometriosis include painful periods, pain during intercourse, pelvic pain, and painful bowel movements. Endometriosis can also cause infertility. When it comes to treating endometriosis and/or endometriosis-related infertility, recommended procedures can include prescription medications, hormonal therapy, and surgery.
Removal of Scar Tissue
Fertility issues in women can sometimes be caused by a build-up of scar tissue near the ovaries or in the fallopian tubes. If scar tissue develops close to the ovaries, it can prevent the ovaries from successfully releasing eggs. If scar tissue develops in the fallopian tubes, it can obstruct the egg’s path. In some extreme cases, scar tissue formation can lead to adhesion, which is when tissues or organs inside the body become stuck together by a band of scar tissue. Depending on the severity of the scar tissue, surgery may be recommended to help relieve the obstruction.
Infertility is sometimes caused by congenital uterine abnormalities. These abnormalities occur in the female reproductive system during fetal development. It’s not uncommon for women to not be aware of uterine abnormalities, as there may not be any symptoms. However, some women do experience signs of uterine abnormalities such as no periods, recurrent pregnancy loss, and pelvic pain. Many women do not find out they have a uterine abnormality until they undergo an ultrasound.
Uterine abnormalities come in many forms. The most common type is known as a septate uterus, in which the uterus has a normal shape and external structure but has an internal wall of tissue that divides the womb into two cavities. The process of correcting this anatomical issue is usually done through a hysteroscopic surgical procedure.
Management of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Abnormal uterine bleeding, also known as dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB), can often be seen as a sign of fertility issues. DUB is often caused by underlying reproductive conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, uterine fibroids, uterine polyps, inflammatory sexually transmitted diseases (e.g. chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc.), and cancer. Common symptoms of DUB include:
- Irregular bleeding between periods
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- The presence of several or large clots in menstrual blood
- Bleeding that lasts longer than a week
- Bleeding that occurs outside of the normal window of a menstruation cycle
Treatments for DUB can include hormone therapy or hysteroscopic surgery.
Fertility issues are sometimes caused by ovarian cysts, which are sac-like growths filled with fluid or other membranous solids that develop on the surface of or inside an ovary. Ovarian cysts are very common and generally don’t cause any issues. In many cases, they go away without medical intervention. However, when ovarian cysts are associated with other reproductive conditions such as endometriosis or PCOS, they can lead to or exacerbate infertility. In these scenarios, laparoscopic surgery may be recommended to remove the problematic cysts.
Infertility is sometimes caused by functional or structural problems in the fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes are where the sperm and the egg meet each other for fertilization. If there is scar tissue or an obstruction present in the fallopian tubes, it can prevent fertilization from occurring. These types of tubal issues may be caused by an underlying condition, such as endometriosis or pelvic infection. A tuboplasty is a procedure that can help restore the structural integrity and functionality of the affected fallopian tube.
Myomectomy for Fibroids
Fibroids are a type of tumor that grows in the uterus’s muscular tissue. They are generally non-cancerous but can cause infertility and other reproductive issues, including recurrent pregnancy loss. A myomectomy is a surgical procedure in which the fibroids are removed, leaving the uterus intact. This procedure can be performed through hysteroscopic or laparoscopic surgery.
Because Everyone Deserves the Chance to Be a Parent
We are pleased to offer partnerships with fertility financing specialists, Bundl Fertility™, LendingClub, and CapexMD.
The path to fertility is already emotionally and physically demanding, let these options ease your financial stress.