Can I Still Get Pregnant With PCOS?
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often experience more difficulty getting pregnant. The condition is associated with irregular periods, higher levels of male hormones, and ovarian cysts. All of these factors can make conceiving more difficult. However, one of the best strategies for treating infertility with PCOS is in vitro fertilization (IVF).
How does IVF work?
During IVF treatment, eggs and sperm are combined manually in a laboratory setting. The goal of the treatment is to increase the chance of fertilization to make an embryo. Then, the fertilized egg is transferred to the woman’s uterus. The procedure has high success rates, although the individual health of both partners can affect the outcome of IVF.
The role of PCOS
Women with PCOS who are trying to get pregnant should start with specific lifestyle changes. Some of these include exercising regularly and eating a nutritious diet. Commonly, women experience success by following a diet lower in carbohydrates. When women still do not ovulate after implementing these lifestyle changes, further treatment may be needed.
Certain medicines can help women with PCOS to ovulate regularly. Often, these medications will cause women to produce more than one egg per month. The treatment requires close monitoring to ensure that women’s hormone levels are in a healthy place.
Women will typically take fertility medications before the IVF cycle. Fertility injections stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. These eggs are then harvested and fertilized in the lab. The embryo is then transferred to the uterus. If more than one embryo is made, these can be frozen for future use.
PCOS and pregnancy
In addition to fertility medication and IVF, women with PCOS can also increase pregnancy chances by managing weight and exercising regularly. Often, these steps can help make menstrual cycles more regular. If none of these treatment options work, a doctor may recommend ovarian drilling. During this surgery, the doctor uses a laser or electric needle to drill a few holes in the surface of the ovary. This can help to stimulate ovulation for 6-8 months.
When to see a doctor
Any time a woman has been trying to conceive for 6 months to 1 year without success, experts recommend seeking treatment with a fertility specialist. Women with PCOS who want to get pregnant should consult with an OB/GYN to help improve fertility and reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. For more information about getting pregnant with PCOS, speak with an OB/GYN.