How Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Affects Fertility

For women who are diagnosed with the polycystic ovarian syndrome, this condition is considered one of the most commonly cited reasons why some have trouble getting pregnant. In women with PCOS, the hormonal imbalance created by this condition interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries. Without these eggs developing, neither ovulation nor pregnancy can occur. But having this condition doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant – with the help of your women’s health team, we can treat PCOS and help you get pregnant. Here’s what we know about PCOS in women and what you can do about it. 

The Causes and Effects of PCOS on Fertility 

Right now, most researchers don’t know exactly what causes PCOS, but we can identify factors that play a role in its development. According to research, some experts believe PCOS involves genetics, as many genes have been associated with the disease in women. But due to the complexity of PCOS, single genetic diagnostic tests cannot determine which gene causes the condition to occur. 

Alongside the genetic factors involved, excess insulin can also contribute to PCOS. The pancreas produces insulin and converts the sugar molecules gained from our foods into energy. Women with PCOS tend to have insulin resistance, where the body cannot correctly lower their blood sugar levels. This condition causes an over-abundance of insulin, which can increase testosterone production, which is one of the hormonal symptoms of PCOS. 

Because of these potential causes, this condition can greatly affect a person’s fertility. Due to the increasing levels of testosterone production, ovulation problems can prevent the body from developing the uterus lining, which prevents proper egg maturation. It also causes ovulation and mensuration cycles to become irregular, making it more difficult for women to get pregnant. 

How Can Maternal-Fetal Specialists Treat PCOS? 

For women who have PCOS and wish to become pregnant, visiting your maternal-fetal specialists can help address many of the factors involved, improve hormonal balance, and help increase the chances of ovulation and pregnancy. When you visit your maternal-fetal specialist, they can provide you with numerous treatment options, including: 

  • Hormone Therapy: Hormone therapy can help improve the chances of successful delivery by balancing out the hormones. These hormones can be administered by injection and can also be used to help prevent irregular periods and ovulation cycles. 
  • Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling: As a surgical solution, laparoscopic ovarian drilling works to destroy parts of the membranes surrounding the ovaries to increase the chances of ovulation and pregnancy. 
  • Insulin-Sensitizing Drugs: Women with Type 2 Diabetes may also find that insulin-sensitizing drugs can help balance out their hormones and increase the chance of pregnancy, as it helps reduce the amount of testosterone produced within the body. 

Alongside these treatments, many doctors recommend that women with PCOS should maintain healthy exercise, weight management, and stress management to gain better control over their hormone production if seeking to become pregnant. For more information about PCOS treatment options, visit your local maternal-fetal specialist to learn more.