PCOS

Infertility Treatments and Services

Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs negatively impacts fertility because women with the condition do not ovulate, or release an egg, each month due to an overproduction of estrogen by the ovaries. Because ovulation does not occur regularly, periods become irregular and increased levels of hormones such as testosterone can affect egg quality, inhibit ovulation, lead to insulin resistance, and increase the risk of disorders such as gestational diabetes.

PCOS and Fertility Treatment

For those women trying to conceive a pregnancy, the first step in the treatment of PCOS is lifestyle modification, including a healthy diet and exercise. The diets shown to be most successful in PCOS patients include those with lower carbohydrates, a reduced glycemic load. Recommended exercise in PCOS patients is at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times per week, with daily exercise being the ultimate goal.

Women who still have infrequent ovulation despite lifestyle modifications may require fertility medications to assist with the release of an egg from the ovary.

For some women with PCOS, fertility tablets do not result in ovulation or pregnancy, and they require fertility injections to release an egg.

In some instances, women with PCOS require in vitro fertilization (IVF) to achieve a healthy pregnancy. In this scenario, daily fertility injections are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, which are harvested in a minor procedure. The eggs are fertilized in the lab and then a resulting embryo (fertilized egg) is transferred into the woman’s uterus. Additional embryos can be frozen (cryopreserved) for future use.

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