Congenital Abnormalities of the Uterus – Do They Affect Fertility?
A congenital abnormality of the uterus is a malformation that is present from the time a baby is born. About 3 in 100 women have a congenital malformation of the uterus, also called the womb. Most of them don’t cause any symptoms, and some don’t cause any problems. You may not know you have an issue until you can’t get pregnant, or you get pregnant and have a miscarriage.
For some conditions, you may need treatment to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes.
How the Uterus Develops
When a female baby is developing, two small tubes called Mullerian ducts come together to form her uterus at about 10 weeks of gestation. When the tubes don’t come together completely, this can cause problems with the uterus.
Malformations of the Uterus
The most common congenital uterine abnormality is a septate uterus. A band of muscle or fibrous tissue divides the uterus into two parts. This condition can cause repeat miscarriages, so your doctor may recommend surgery to repair the uterus. A bicornuate uterus, also called a heart-shaped uterus, has two cavities or spaces instead of one. Most women with a bicornuate uterus will not have trouble getting pregnant but may have a higher risk of miscarriage or a “breech baby,” when the baby presents for labor feet-first. Usually women don’t have to have surgery for a bicornuate uterus unless they have had a problem with a pregnancy in the past.
A didelphic uterus, or double uterus, actually has two uterine cavities and two cervixes (openings). Women with this malformation usually don’t have trouble getting pregnant, and surgery to unite the two uterine cavities is not recommended. They are at higher risk for miscarriage, a breech baby, or premature delivery. A unicornuate uterus, or one-sided uterus, happens when only half the uterus forms. Surgery can’t make the uterus any larger, according to the March of Dimes. Women with a unicornuate uterus may have fertility problems because they only have one fallopian tube that functions. Although they can become pregnant, their risk of miscarriage and other complications is higher.
A very rare condition is the complete absence of a uterus, called uterine agenesis or Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH). The uterus never develops. MRKH is usually diagnosed when a girl’s period doesn’t start by age 16, and the absence of a uterus and vagina is discovered. Women with this condition don’t have periods and cannot become pregnant or carry a baby naturally. However, they have ovaries, and they can have a biological child through IVF and use of a gestational surrogate to carry the child.
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) may be able to help if you have had multiple miscarriages, and it is the only way to have a biological child if you have been diagnosed with MRKH. The good news is, these congenital uterine problems are rare, and help is available if you have one of these conditions.
Can ART Help You?
If you’re ready to pursue IVF treatment, WIN Fertility can help. WINFertility’s Nurse Care Managers or professionally-trained Patient Specialists can help you find an excellent reproductive endocrinologist in your area and get discounted treatment packages and financing options.
WINFertility provides lower than market-rate Treatment and Medication Bundles which combine medical services for a single IVF treatment, genetic testing and medications at a discounted “pay-as-you-go” price saving you up to 40% off the total cost of your treatment cycle. The bundle is tailored for your specific treatment plan, and you only pay for the treatment you need, unlike traditional multi-cycle discount plans in which you pay for up to 6 attempts that you may never need in order to receive a discount. For those patients who think they may need an additional IVF attempt to become pregnant, the WINFertility 2nd Chance IVF Refund Program helps control costs, maximizes your chance of success and minimizes your risk of overpaying.
Are you ready to take the next step? Visit www.WINFertility.com or call 1-855-705-4483 (4IVF.)