Do fibroids cause infertility?

The biggest concern in pregnancy is whether the fibroid will increase the chance of preterm birth or miscarriage. PHOTO/FILE/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Although Ugandans believe that fibroids cause infertility, many women with fibroids are able to get pregnant and deliver a normal baby. That said, fibroids located in the inner lining of the womb (sub-endometrial) or are big can interfere with fertilisation or the implantation of an embryo

Because I wanted to get pregnant, I had surgery to remove fibroids. However, it is now two years since the fibroids were removed but I am not getting pregnant. Why? Liz

Dear Liz,
Fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop in the walls of the uterus of a woman of child bearing age. However, they are more common between 30-40 years of age, as a woman grows older. 
Although Ugandans believe that fibroids cause infertility, many women with fibroids are able to get pregnant and deliver a normal baby. That said, fibroids located in the inner lining of the womb (sub-endometrial) or are big can interfere with fertilisation or the implantation of an embryo.
 Fibroids can also get in the way during a pregnancy requiring a caesarean section to deliver the baby. 
The doctor may decide to use the most effective and safest method to deal with fibroids so that they do not interfere with one getting pregnant and carrying the baby to term. In your case, the doctor decided to remove the fibroids through surgery.

Although fibroids do not grow back after surgery, one may develop new fibroids, the reason a woman should take time after surgery before getting pregnant (three to six months to give the uterus time to heal). Delay in getting pregnant may lead to growth of new fibroids requiring a repeat surgery, usually five years after the first surgery.
Pregnancy after fibroids are removed may depend on a woman’s fertility, which reduces with age yet fibroids are more prevalent the older the woman gets (30-40 years). Apart from age, a woman’s fertility may also depend on the presence of other factors such as blocked fallopian tubes that may reduce fertility in any woman.
 
Before removing fibroids to improve fertility, x-rays of the tubes (HSG) may be done to see whether the tubes are blocked or not and if possible, this may be corrected during removal of fibroids.
Unfortunately, the proof of fertility depends on getting pregnant and delivering a normal baby, which means that both you and your husband need to be checked for infertility.

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