Fibroids and Reproduction

Semin Reprod Med. 2010 May;28(3):218-27. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1251478. Epub 2010 Apr 22.


Uterine fibroids are commonly seen in women with reproductive disorders such as infertility, spontaneous abortion (SAB), and obstetric complications. Although it is certain that these tumors can occasionally cause such pathophysiology, it is critical to understand the rate of such occurrences, the degree of causality of the fibroids, and our ability to ameliorate the problems via surgical treatment. Evaluation of the available data is hampered by poor quality studies, heterogeneity of the disease, and confounding factors affecting outcomes. Nevertheless, the best available evidence suggests the following: (1) Submucous myomas decrease fertility and increase SAB rates; myomectomy is likely to be of value; (2) intramural myomas may decrease fertility, but the issue is less clear; they do seem to increase rates of miscarriage; there is no solid evidence that myomectomy restores the patient to normal; (3) subserosal myomas do not impair fertility but may enhance the rate of SAB; and (4) fibroids increase the risk of several obstetric complications, including cesarean delivery, malpresentation, postpartum hemorrhage, retained placenta, intrauterine growth retardation, preterm labor, placenta previa, and abruption. Higher quality studies are desperately needed to add confidence to these tenuous conclusions.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / etiology
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Leiomyoma / complications
  • Leiomyoma / physiopathology*
  • Leiomyoma / surgery
  • Postoperative Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Reproduction*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / complications
  • Uterine Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / surgery