Adenomyosis and in vitro fertilization impacts - A literature review

JBRA Assist Reprod. 2021 Apr 27;25(2):303-309. doi: 10.5935/1518-0557.20200104. Online ahead of print.


Adenomyosis is a gynecological condition, which is characterized by stromal and glandular endometrial tissue infiltration inti the myometrium, resulting in an increase of uterine volume. The etiology of adenomyosis is presently unknown, but some theories assist us in understanding its pathogenesis and natural history. Clinical manifestations are increased menstrual flow and dysmenorrhea, abnormal uterine bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, and dyspareunia. The signs and symptoms suggestive of adenomyosis are complemented by diagnostic methods such as transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS), ideally with intestinal preparation, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and surgery; although currently, there are no precise criteria for the classification of findings on imaging studies. The clinical and surgical therapeutic approach must be individualized, taking into account the patient's characteristics, for instance, age, parity, depth and number of adenomyotic foci, uterine volume and, mainly, clinical manifestations. A causal relation between adenomyosis and infertility has been repeatedly suggested, mostly due to the anatomo-physiopathological conditions originated by the adenomyosis on the female genital tract; however, definitive conclusions are still lacking. This pathology is found in approximately 25% of infertile women, especially those who have had recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL), recurrent implantation failure, older women seeking In Vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, and those with concomitant endometriosis. To determine whether adenomyosis per se affects fertility, several researchers have focused on women who are affected by the condition and underwent IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI); for this model provides more accurate data about the influence of adenomyosis on embryo implantation. Therefore, our objective was to analyze, through a systematic literature review, the effect of uterine adenomyosis on the probability of pregnancy by IVF / ICSI, as well as trying to point out the main difficulties and gaps to establish a standard protocol for the management of these patients, since most of the patients with adenomyosis have other associated gynecological pathologies, mostly endometriosis; in addition to the heterogeneity of the studies still remaining as an obstacle to precise conclusions.

Keywords: Adenomyosis; In Vitro fertilization; embryo implantation; endometriosis; infertility.

Publication types

  • Review