Everything You Need To Know About Conceiving With PCOS
Posted on 18 May 2020
What Is Ovulation?
Every female reproductive system consists of two ovaries at the end of the fallopian tubes. At birth, every female has around 1 to 2 billion immature egg cells called oocytes in her ovaries.
Once puberty sets in, an ovary releases one mature egg every month. This egg travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus, which has already prepared itself to receive the egg by thickening its walls. There, the egg either meets the sperm cell, which causes fertilisation. The fusion of the male and female sex cells leads to the formation of a zygote and that is the earliest stage of pregnancy. If the egg does not come in contact with a sperm, the uterine lining is shed by the body along with the unfertilised egg. This shedding is called menstruation, and the entire journey of the egg cell is called Ovulation.
Ovaries also bear the responsibility of producing female sex hormones: progesterone and estrogen. Typically, it also produces testosterone, the male sex hormone, in very small quantities.
There are medical conditions that could mess up with the process of ovulation. When ovulation does not take place normally, it could cause severe hormonal imbalances and even lead to infertility.
Two major problems that tamper with the process of ovulation are Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Polycystic Ovarian Disorder (PCOD). Both of these are related to the numerous tiny cysts that are formed in the ovaries, which may just cause irregular periods and even infertility in the case of PCOS.
Chances Of Conception
So how does having polycystic ovaries affect your chances of conception?
It’s a common misconception that these conditions mean inability to have children. This is only partially true, as PCOD mainly disrupts the hormonal balance of the body, which causes other problems like acne, hirsutism, and of course irregular periods. The hormone responsible for kick-starting the ovulation process by releasing the egg fails to do its job regularly on time. However, people who have PCOD do ovulate. They may have their periods once in months, meaning the ovulation period may greatly vary, and experience menstruation for days. Getting pregnant may not be as easy as it is for women without PCO, but it’s not at all impossible.
PCOS, on the other hand, makes matters a little more complicated. What happens when you have this condition is, the follicular cysts prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs altogether. When ovulation is prevented because of this, chances of conceiving becomes extremely small.
With the advancement in medical technology and research on the subject, PCOS is not the dead-end of your dream to become a parent. You will be presented with multiple options to consider to get pregnant and you could choose the one that’s most convenient for you.
Assistance In Conceiving
If you’re having trouble conceiving due to PCO the doctor is likely to lay out many options in front of you or suggest what they think will suit you the most. However, it’s important to know what your choices are.
The most common fertility drug used is Clomid for women suffering from PCO. It has shown high success rates. Letrozole is an alternative that gets prescribed to women on whom Clomid has no effect. It is, in fact, a cancer medication, but can also help in triggering ovulation.
Metformin treatment is also recommended to some patients to bring the condition under control, as it is said to help the body get back to handling menstruation on its own. Metformin is actually a drug used to treat diabetes. It could help in making your menstruation more regular, and act as a booster for other fertility drugs by enhancing their effects.
The next step, if necessary, is injecting fertility drugs that contain gonadotropins (hormones secreted by the pituitary gland and have an effect on gonads). Luteinising Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FHS), or the combination of two is sometimes introduced. Alternatively, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) along with gonadotropins can be injected directly into the uterus.
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
In IVF, many hormonally matured eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and matured in controlled conditions. They are then fused with the sperm, either taken from the partner or a donor. Once it’s ready (which takes around 5 days), it’s implanted into the uterine wall. This is called embryo transfer.
These days, another procedure called In Vitro Maturation (IVM) has become increasingly popular. Here, immature eggs are taken out and made to mature in vitro. The rest of the procedure remains the same as IVF.
This is not so commonly practiced anymore. What is done in ovarian drilling is tiny holes are drilled into the polycystic ovaries, as an attempt to force function out of them.
If you’ve already had this procedure performed on you before, you may have lesser chances of conceiving again. In such cases, egg donors can be considered.
Studies show that if you’re obese or overweight, losing about 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help bring some order to your menstrual cycle and improve your chances of pregnancy. However, this alone will not be very effective and you most probably will still need fertility drugs to improve your odds.
A healthy diet is crucial. It has been suggested many times that diets that include low-carbs are the ones that are most suited for women with PCOS. It’s also important to include a lot of rich nutrients and avoid foods with high sugars. This means add lots of proteins and greens to your meals. Try and have larger breakfasts and smaller dinners.
Avoid caffeine. green tea is relatively safer. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is usually recommended over coffee in all PCOS friendly diets. However, it would do good to limit green tea consumption to two cups a day, at least during the first trimester of your pregnancy. If you want to enjoy a caffeine-free comforting hot beverage, ginger tea is a great option. Purchase best PCOS herbal tea online from Teatox Life.
Don’t lose heart if you have been diagnosed with PCOD or PCOS. Follow your doctor’s dietary advice and exercise regularly. Rather than seeing your condition as a ‘disease’, practice the lifestyle to get the best out of yourself. And as for having babies, you already know you have so many options to choose from.