The role of fertility preservation in patients with endometriosis

J Assist Reprod Genet. 2016 Mar;33(3):317-323. doi: 10.1007/s10815-016-0646-z. Epub 2016 Jan 14.


Patients affected with severe endometriosis are at significant risk for ovarian tissue damage, which may lead to infertility, reduced response to ovarian stimulation, and occasionally, premature ovarian failure. The risk for a compromised ovarian reserve in young patients is especially high following repeated surgical intervention and in the presence of bilateral endometriomas. In many cases, enhanced loss of ovarian reserve may also result from the damaging effect of the pathologic process on follicle reservoir even without surgical interventions. Women diagnosed with severe endometriosis and those designated for extensive ovarian surgical intervention are frequently not planning to conceive. In light of recent advances in fertility preservation techniques (FPT), such as oocytes and ovarian tissue freezing, as well as their increasing success rates, we critically evaluate the options for FPT in patients suffering from endometriosis. Personalized counseling should be offered to all patients with endometriosis taking into account age, extent of ovarian involvement, current ovarian reserve, previous and impending surgeries for endometriosis, along with current success rates and possible risks associated with FPT.

Keywords: Endometriosis; Fertility preservation; Oocyte-embryo freezing; Ovarian follicles; Ovarian reserve; Ovarian tissue cryopreservation.

MeSH terms

  • Cryopreservation / methods
  • Endometriosis / surgery
  • Endometriosis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Fertility Preservation / methods*
  • Fertility Preservation / psychology
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age
  • Ovarian Reserve / physiology
  • Ovary / physiology*
  • Pregnancy