Fertility before and after surgery for deep infiltrating endometriosis with and without bowel involvement: a literature review

Minerva Ginecol. 2014 Dec;66(6):575-87.


Aim: Endometriosis affects from 10% to 15% of women of childbearing age and 20% of these women have deep infiltrating endometriosis (DIE). The goal of this review was to assess the impact of various locations of DIE on spontaneous fertility and the benefit of surgery and Medically Assisted Reproduction (MAR) (in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination) on fertility outcomes.

Methods: MEDLINE search for articles on fertility in women with DIE published between 1990 and April 2013 using the following terms: "deep infiltrative endometriosis", "colorectal", "bowel", "rectovaginal", "uterosacral", "vaginal", "bladder" and "fertility" or "infertility". Twenty-nine articles reporting fertility outcomes in 2730 women with DIE were analysed.

Results: Among the women with DIE and no bowel involvement (N.=1295), no preoperative data on spontaneous pregnancy rate (PR) were available. The postoperative spontaneous PR rate in these women was 50.5% (95% Confidence Interval [CI] =46.8-54.1) and overall PR (spontaneous pregnancies and after MAR) was 68.3% (95% CI=64.9-71.7). No evaluation of fertility outcome according to locations of DIE was feasible. For women with DIE with bowel involvement without surgical management (N.=115), PR after MAR was 29%; 95% CI=20.7-37.4). For those with bowel involvement who were surgically managed (N.=1320), postoperative spontaneous PR was 28.6% (95% CI=25-32.3) and overall postoperative PR was 46.9% (95% CI=42.9-50.9).

Conclusion: For women with DIE without bowel involvement, surgery alone offers a high spontaneous PR. For those with bowel involvement, the low spontaneous and relatively high overall PR suggests the potential benefit of combining surgery and MAR.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Endometriosis / complications
  • Endometriosis / pathology
  • Endometriosis / surgery*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Infertility, Female / surgery*
  • Intestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Intestinal Diseases / pathology
  • Intestinal Diseases / surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate