, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 27-31

Impact of Varying Stages of Endometriosis on the Outcome of In Vitro Fertilization–Embryo Transfer

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Purpose: The impact of severity of endometriosis on the outcome of in vitro fertilization (IVF) was analyzed in an uncontrolled, retrospective study in an academic IVF program.

Methods: Sixty-one patients with a primary diagnosis of endometriosis undergoing 85 cycles of IVF were included in the study. Patients were divided according to the severity of disease based on the revised American Fertility Society (AFS) classification into groups A (stages I/II, or minimal/mild) and B (stages III/IV, or moderate/severe). Group A included 32 patients undergoing 45 IVF-embryo transfer (ET) cycles; group B included 29 patients undergoing 40 IVF cycles. Exclusion criteria were age older than 40 years, basal day 3 follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) greater than 20 IU/L, male-factor infertility, assisted hatching, and gamete intrafallopian transfer cases. Stimulation for IVF cycles was standard using pituitary down-regulation with gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist in a midluteal protocol. Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) was achieved using a combination of FSH and human menopausal gonadotropin. Outcomes assessed included response to COH and number, maturity, and quality of oocytes retrieved. Fertilization, implantation, and pregnancy rates after IVF-ET were also analyzed.

Results: The response to COH and the number, maturity, and quality of the oocytes was comparable between patients with varying severity of endometriosis. Fertilization rates for oocytes of patients in group B (stages III/IV) were significantly impaired compared to those in group A (stages I/II) (P = 0,004). The rates for implantation, clinical pregnancy, and miscarriage were comparable between the two groups.

Conclusions: The reduced fertilization potential of the oocytes obtained from patients with severe endometriosis in the absence of male-factor infertility suggests an adverse biological impact of the advanced disease on the oocytes. The outcome of IVF-ET, however, is unaffected by increasing severity of endometriosis. This suggests that IVF may compensate for or overcome this reduction in the biological potential of the oocytes associated with severe disease, thus accounting for a comparable outcome irrespective of the severity of endometriosis.