ONE of the symptoms of endometriosis is infertility. Some women may not experience a lot of pain but struggle to conceive due to endometriosis. Among infertile women, 20 to 50 percent have endometriosis. The greater the extent of endometriosis, the lesser the likelihood of pregnancy. Medical or surgical treatment of endometriosis often improves fertility but in some cases there may be no improvement.
In cases of significant amount of endometriosis, scar tissue involving the tubes or ovaries may affect the normal mechanism of egg capture by the fallopian tubes following ovulation. Another possible mechanism contributing to infertility is the various inflammatory substances released in response to endometriosis lesions that may interfere with ovulation and sperm function.
Most women dream of getting married and bearing children. It is also their mothers’ dream. Endometriosis can, however, shatter this dream. I have not yet tried to conceive but I do wonder if the day will come where I might be told that I cannot bear children. I personally feel that anything is possible and there are many instances of where women have been told they can’t bear children but they have.
This past week I interviewed some ladies who have experienced endometriosis infertility issues and this is what they had to say:
Q: Has infertility affected you in any way because you have endometriosis?
A: “I am surviving on one remaining ovary and fallopian tube because I had to get one ovary and tube removed because they were riddled in endo. I am not sure if I can conceive or not. Honestly, I decided I am not going to have kids outside of marriage. There were times I nearly just went ahead with trying, but nothing happened. I would walk into a clothing shop and avoided the children’s section like the plague, getting hurt in the process. At times I wonder if I would be a good mother or not. There was a time when my depression was a bit too much and I just couldn’t stand kids because it hurt so much. With time I am learning to accept things as they are and just accept it. Honestly, it hurts really bad, but I am learning to live with it”. — (Endo warrior, 44 years old).
Q: How has infertility affected your life and marriage?
A: “I received diagnosis of stage 4 Endo and infertility at age 22. I experienced debilitating symptoms since I was 12. Hearing the word endometriosis was scary in itself but infertility was unbearable and time just seemed to stop in that moment and suddenly my life was turned upside down. I couldn’t help but think I had somehow self-inflicted this infertility that accompanies this horrible disease! Why is what kept running through my mind, why had I never gotten a diagnosis when I was in my teens, why I was told period pains were normal, why didn’t anyone help me and treat me in order to save my fertility!
Emotions such as anger, self-hate and embarrassment and disappointment were there with me daily. I’m a woman and I can’t have a baby, something so beautiful and natural, was such a struggle for me. I felt so useless as a woman! I was totally shattered as I love children and always wanted a big family of my own one day.
Fast forward a couple of years came all the fertility treatments and the different stages. The final stage was IVF treatment, which I went through twice and both of them failed! I was left in pain more than ever, physically and emotionally as the drugs that were pumped in me drove me crazy! I was a lunatic and actually didn’t recognise myself with all the crazy emotions I was experiencing with all the medication and emotional pain of coming so close to having my baby, and only to be disappointed in the end. After many years of fertility treatments and soul searching, I turned to God! I was grateful for my loving and supportive spouse, my parents and siblings, my nieces and nephews who love me like a mom, and were with me every step of the way.
I now do volunteer work with a pre-school and it’s so rewarding and really satisfying to be back working with them. They have filled my life with so much joy. Sometimes it’s the most negative situations in our life that can turn into a very positive direction.” — (Endo warrior, 35 years old).
I’m sure after reading these two inserts you have learnt a bit about how it feels like to suffer infertility caused by endometriosis, in fact just infertility in general. It is a terrible thing to go through and I commend the ladies that fight through it. Remember you don’t have to carry a child to mother one.
If you would like to get in touch or would like to join the Zimbabwe Endometriosis Support group please get in touch on +26778026402 or firstname.lastname@example.org Stay blessed. Ta!