AUSTIN, Texas -- Endometriosis is a disorder that affects women. In its most severe state it can significantly reduce a woman's chances of getting pregnant. Modern medicine has given hope to couples who may have given up on the dream of having children.
Austin resident Nikki Paxton, 33, has spent almost half of her life battling an illness.
"I was always sick," she said. "I was in constant pain. It was affecting my digestive system. It was just affecting my quality of life. It felt like it was just dictating everything I did."
Paxton was suffering from endometriosis, a disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb or uterus grow outside it or in other areas of the body. This can lead to pain, irregular bleeding, and can affect a woman's eggs and fertilization rates making it more difficult to get pregnant.
"It shows us that the pregnancy rates can be anywhere between two to 10 percent per month," said Shahryar Kavoussi, M.D., a Board-Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist St. David's South Austin Medical Center. "It's generally 25 percent per month for the normal population for younger women."
Kavoussi says there are two, main treatment options for women with endometriosis who are trying to get pregnant. The first is called super ovulation.
"Super ovulation means growing more eggs per month in a woman who is already ovulating," said Kavoussi.
Kavoussi says fertility medication given in a super ovulation treatment may allow a woman to grow two or three eggs per month instead of one. If none of those take in vitro fertilization is often the next step. IVF is the joining of a woman's egg and a man's sperm in a laboratory dish. In vitro means outside the body.
Paxton visited Doctor Kavoussi in the fall. She underwent both super ovulation and ultimately in vitro fertilization. The treatments resulted in her producing nine eggs.
"We had three that were good and two were implanted," said Paxton. "One stuck, and we have one snow baby left if we want to try again down the road."
Now she and her husband Bob are expecting, their little girl is due in June. Paxton showed off the sonogram album she's made and couldn't help but giggle with excitement.
"This was my 20 week sonogram," she said proudly.
Kavoussi advises women with endometriosis who are attempting to get pregnant to try at least two to three months of super ovulation first before opting for the more expensive in vitro fertilization.
Kavoussi's has written an article on the subject in this month's Seminars in Reproductive Medicine. Click here to read the article.