PCOS: Effects on Pregnancy and Fertility

This is a collaborative post.

Did you know Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common causes of female infertility?

It’s one of the first factors doctors consider if a couple is struggling to conceive, but many women don’t realize just how much this disease can affect their reproductive systems.


What is it about PCOS that causes such difficulty, and is there a guarantee for your peace of mind when you can’t get pregnant and nothing else seems to work?

Frozen donor eggs, along with a variety of other advanced reproductive technologies (ART), might be the answer you’re looking for.

How common is PCOS?

Here’s an alarming fact:

Approximately 1 out of every 10 women in the UK are struggling with PCOS. To put it plainly, that’s approximately 3.5 million women.

Even more disconcerting, most of those women may not even realize they have it, as some of the most notable side effects of PCOS are often chalked up to other issues.

Examples of side effects include:

  • Irregular periods
    • Many women battling this issue are under the impression that external influences, like stress, diet, or exercise are the cause behind menstrual irregularity.
  • Rapid weight gain and/or obesity
    • As with irregular periods, most individuals blame dietary choices or a lack of exercise for these types of issues.
  • Excessive Body Hair
    • While a lot of women do think this issue is biological, most aren’t aware that it’s an effect of an underlying disease.

As you can see, these issues can seem inconsequential, and most women would never think they were symptomatic of PCOS and the cause of their infertility. It’s imperative to understand just what PCOS is and how it affects your ability to get pregnant.

Mum and Baby

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a hormonal condition that affects some women.

Hormonal imbalances can cause enlarged ovaries which frequently, but not always, stem from a collection of ovarian cysts. As stated previously, the most common symptoms of this disorder are irregular or missed periods.

Menstrual irregularities amongst women with PCOS are from a lack of ovulation due to a high volume of androgen hormones.

Along with the previously mentioned symptoms, PCOS can also cause:

  • Acne
  • Mood changes
  • Sleep problems
  • Headaches
  • Pain within pelvis

One of the most heart-breaking effects, however, is infertility.

PCOS & infertility

When a woman isn’t ovulating the way she should be, it’s nearly impossible to get pregnant as healthy eggs are not released for fertilisation.

In the event a woman with PCOS is ovulating but still having trouble conceiving, the imbalance of hormones could be having a negative effect on her endometrial lining, which prevents an embryo from implanting.

Overall, the overabundance of androgen hormones is the basis for infertility in patients with PCOS.

Treating PCOS and getting pregnant: donor eggs may be your solution

Unfortunately, there’s currently no cure for PCOS. That being said, there are still ways of getting pregnant.

Some patients require fertility treatment as simple as ovulation drugs or birth control pills that work to balance out their hormone levels, so their bodies can ovulate the way they’re supposed to.

In other situations, women may require more involved reproductive therapies including donor egg usage, IUI, or IVF.

IUI and IVF are generally the first steps taken when a change in medication on its own hasn’t helped a woman successfully get pregnant. If damage to the ovaries has occurred, however, the use of donor eggs may be required.

It’s not uncommon for couples to have concerns about donor egg usage, but if your ovaries can no longer produce eggs or your eggs themselves are no longer viable for conception, it’s a wonderful option to have.

Donor eggs still provide women with the chance to experience pregnancy and to bring their child into the world. After all, having the chance to watch their belly grow and feel a sweet baby move from the inside is just as important to some women as having a child altogether.

Overcoming PCOS-caused infertility

If you are handed a PCOS diagnosis in your quest to get pregnant, don’t fret.

While this information can seem overwhelming, it’s important to remember there are options. Sometimes people think that just because they have this disease, children are suddenly out of the question – this couldn’t be further from the truth.

With a little medical technology, flexibility, and creativity, there’s nothing stopping you from building the family you’ve been hoping for.


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