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Minerva Ginecologica 2005 June;57(3):257-68

language: English

Endometriosis and subfertility treatment: a review

De Hondt A., Peeraer K., Meuleman C., Meeuwis L., De Loecker P., D'Hooghe T. M.


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The aim of this article is to present a review on the influence of endometriosis on assisted reproductive techniques (ART), as well as on the influence of ART on endometriosis. Based on recent literature, this article will try to answer the following questions: 1) Does endometriosis change the success rate of ovulation induction (OI), intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and does previous chirurgical treatment of endometriosis change the success rate of OI, IUI and IVF? 2) Do ART alter the course of the disease? In order to answer these questions, we based ourselves on the following recent guidelines and reviews by reknown experts on endometriosis: the ESHRE Guideline for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Endometriosis, The Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Endometriosis and Fertility; a recent review paper on the relationship between endometriosis and subfertility and a recent meta-analysis on the relationship between endometriosis and ART. This review was then completed using more recent papers, published on PubMed as well as background articles, important references and own research papers presented at international meetings. The pregnancy rate after OI, IUI and IVF is decreased in women with endometriosis when compared to controls. The effect of previous surgery for endometriosis is unclear, due to great lack of standardised studies using well defined operation techniques and patient groups. The effect of ART on the spontaneous evolution and recurrence rate of endometriosis has hardly been studied. The presence of endometriosis has a negative effect on the pregnancy rate after ART. It is unclear if surgical treatment prior to ART may increase the pregnancy rate after ART. It is also unclear if ART is a risk factor for recurrence/progression of endometriosis.

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