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Polycystic Ovaries and Infertility

Cysts in the ovaries lead to a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Polycystic ovaries (PCO) create hormone imbalance, irregular menstrual cycles, and difficulty in getting pregnant. The root cause of the problem is that multiple follicles or eggs experience arrested growth. This means that they stop growing before attaining maturity before being released into the Fallopian tubes.

What are the causes of PCOS & PCO?

It is estimated that over 20% of women suffer from PCO condition, though it may not have reached the full-blown PCOS stage. PCO and PCOS differ in that, while the women suffering from the former have multiple cysts in the ovaries, women suffering from PCOS have an accompanying imbalance of hormones and other symptoms present as well. While it has not been possible for experts to determine the root cause of PCOS, it is thought that the syndrome is a result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. One theory says that women with PCOS suffer from insulin resistance when the result blood levels of insulin are high. This causes ovaries to release large amounts of the hormone called testosterone. Other hormones that go out of balance are LH (Luteinizing hormone) and SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin).

Polycystic Ovaries and Pregnancy – Reasons for Infertility

Polycystic ovarian syndrome and infertility are related. The hormone imbalance that results from PCO and PCOS leads to infertility. Because of the inability to develop the eggs to maturity in the ovaries due to wrong hormone levels, ovulation does not happen when it should. The underdeveloped egg remains as a cyst in the ovary. The male hormones that are released in excess by the ovaries also have a role to play in follicular development.

PCO and PCOS – symptoms & diagnosis

Excess amounts of male hormones (androgens) released by the ovaries lead to side effects such as irregular menstrual cycles, hirsutism (hair growth), and weight gain in women.
When the patient presents these symptoms to a doctor, he/she will conduct a physical examination, ask questions relating to the medical history and advise a set of blood tests to check for levels of different hormones. They may also advise the patient to have an ultrasound scan to test if the ovaries have cysts in them.
Although there is no definite cure for PCOS, the condition can be managed effectively. Polycystic ovarian syndrome treatment involves weight loss, taking anti-androgen medication, taking birth control pills, and making certain lifestyle choices can help to reduce symptoms and improve the condition.

IVF treatment and PCOS

Infertility is treated by providing medication for improvement of fertility. This effect stimulates the ovaries to ovulate produce more mature eggs. However, there is a risk of multiple births because of this treatment. However, in the case of IVF (in-vitro fertilization) treatment, ovulation and maturation of the eggs take place in a controlled fashion. Here, the eggs are collected and fertilized outside the body and then placed back in the womb.
It has been observed that women with PCOS show a good response to IVF treatment. However, there is a danger of hyperstimulation of ovaries in such cases leading to a condition known as OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome) which leads to a whole new set of symptoms due to swelling of the ovaries and which can be potentially dangerous.

Success of Embryo Cryopreservation and Thawing

Success rates of using frozen embryos for pregnancies are increasing on a regular basis. Success rates of frozen embryos can be said to be comparable to using fresh embryos under most circumstances. For women above the age of 38, the success rate of using embryo cryopreservation and thawing for pregnancies are much higher as the embryos used will have been frozen when they were much younger.

Why IVFSpring Fertility Center?

‘IVF Spring Fertility Center’ specializes in treating patients with PCOS & fertility problems using protocols that offer only mild stimulation of the ovaries. This typically includes ovary stimulation medication for a period of 5 to 9 days unlike the 4 to 5 weeks schedule in the traditional IVF treatment. This has helped to avoid the risks of OHSS for many patients so much so that we have not had even a single admission of a patient with OHSS. This treatment method also causes less stress for the patient making them more receptive to implantation into the womb.

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