There are many reasons why woman’s eggs may be of poor quality or quantity. Most common causes are associated with the disrupted function of ovaries. If not treated it may lead to infertility or problems with fertility in women. Many of those conditions may be successfully treated and infertility issues may be successfully solved with expert support. Polycystic ovary syndrome is one of the most common ovary-related conditions that impede pregnancy in women. For this reason, it is important to get a clear-cut understanding of this disease, infertility PCOS treatment and some peculiarities of IVF and PCOS compatibility.

What should you know about PCOS?

Around 40 per cent of infertile women are diagnosed with ovulatory dysfunction. Irregular, abbreviated, and absent menstrual cycles are signs that should be considered disturbing. Those are the signals by which your body is trying to tell you that something has gone wrong. The issues with ovulation may occur due to a number of reasons:

  • eating disorders;
  • extremes of weight loss or exercise;
  • hyperinsulemia;
  • hyperandrogenism (elevated male hormone);
  • hyperprolactinemia (elevated level of prolactin);
  • obesity;
  • pituitary tumor;
  • thyroid disease.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones, insulin production, heart, blood vessels, and appearance. It’s the most common hormonal issue in women of childbearing age. Insulin resistance is usually the primary cause of PCOS. With PCOS, women produce excess insulin, and this impedes the proper secretion of FSH and LH from the pituitary. This makes ovulation rare or nonexistent.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (Stein-Leventhal syndrome) affects 5-10% of women of childbearing age.

When a woman ovulates, her follicle releases a mature egg. If you have PCOS, your follicle development halts at an early stage, leaving you with the ovarian buildup of small, benign, estrogen-releasing cysts. This buildup enlarges your ovaries and causes an increase in cells that secrete male hormones (androgens) like testosterone. These hormones stimulate the development of masculine features. This means that you might have irregular menstrual periods (or none at all), irregular insulin levels, acne, obesity, and excessive hair growth on your face, chest, or abdomen.

Is there any treatment for PCOS?

If you feel or see that something is not right with your menstrual cycle, your first step should be a visit to a doctor. In order to diagnose PCOS if there are any disturbing symptoms, you will need to visit a fertility clinic, where a professional will run a number of tests and fully-fledged health evaluation, entailing physical examination, blood tests to measure your hormone levels, and ultrasound to examine your ovaries. Only after these necessary procedures, it would be possible to claim that you have PCOS.

After that, based on the results of the evaluation, the doctor will give you recommendations about your further actions. 

In most cases, treatment options include taking fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation. Since PCOS is associated with elevated insulin levels, the doctor may prescribe you some medication to reduce insulin levels. Actually, this is a very effective option, for in 40 per cent of PCOS-positive women metformin alone causes ovulation.

It is believed that women with PCOS respond to the fertility medication differently from those who don’t present this condition. What is more, it is believed that even among PCOS-patients the response may be differently – either too good or too poor. The women who respond too well may ovulate with many eggs, which present a higher chance of multiple pregnancy or ovulation hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). To control the risks related to multiple births, such patients are recommended to take IVF procedure, and if there is a risk of OHSS, your doctor may recommend you to start with lower doses of fertility medications. 

Since PCOS is associated with elevated insulin levels, your doctor may also recommend you to follow a healthy diet to control your insulin in the blood. The best way to do so is to stick to a low-carbohydrate diet that consists of eating eggs, green vegetables, nuts and berries and avoiding processed foods.

A less popular treatment of PCOS is surgery. In this case, the doctor will reduce the ovarian cysts to improve your hormonal imbalance and ovulation cycle, but it is a temporary solution. Very often, the cysts reappear in women with PCOS after some time, because the initial problem hasn’t been solved – their ovaries keep overproducing follicles.

PCOS and IVF success rates

Women who have PCOS usually can have children without facing any serious hurdles – both through natural conception and in vitro fertilization. IVF in PCOS-positive women is usually highly successful – most can achieve pregnancy within the first year of treatment, but they do present a higher risk of miscarrying – approximately 1 in 5 cases.

The success rates in PCOS and IVF treatment are pretty high, and what is more, the success rate of IVF leading to live births in women with PCOS is very similar to those in healthy patients. So if treated, this condition is not a serious obstacle for getting pregnant.

PCOS and IVF stimulation

With proper infertility PCOS treatment, IVF may be highly successful, for the doctor can control your menstrual cycle, induce ovulation and implant an embryo without any serious challenges. The most difficult and time-consuming stage in IVF is to stimulate the proper ovulation with drugs. Since all women react differently to the stimulation drugs, your doctor will need to be really careful ad attentive in selecting them.

Many fertility clinics offer IVF and PCOS services to their patients. With the high pace of modern technology and medical advancement, such treatment options are becoming even more effective and the price is more than affordably cheap, and in this way, such medical services are available and accessible to the patients.

If you are experiencing any disturbing symptoms, it is so important to consult a doctor, because when ovarian conditions are detected early, they may be successfully treated. Polycystic ovary syndrome and IVF are completely compatible, and what is more, they usually associated with high success rates of this procedure.

Parens Fertility has been helping couples that can’t have children to experience the joy of parenting their own baby. We provide a wide range of services – from diagnostic lab tests to IVF and surrogacy. We use the most advanced state-of-art technologies and equipment in our clinics and our doctors regularly undergo specialised training in the best European reproductive centres (France, Poland). Our highly qualified fertility professionals treat every case and every patient with extraordinary care and provide all the necessary assistance.

If you have any further questions about PCOS, IVF, or your fertility in general, please do not hesitate to contact our manager to schedule a consultation with our fertility expert. We will provide you with the help and assistance you need!