Treating Deep Endometriosis in Infertile Patients before Assisted Reproductive Technology

Gynecol Minim Invasive Ther. 2021 Nov 5;10(4):197-202. doi: 10.4103/GMIT.GMIT_154_20. eCollection 2021 Oct-Dec.


Deep endometriosis (DE) causes infertility and pelvic pain. Surgical management of DE has become a topic of increasing interest in gynecological surgery. In women desirous of pregnancy, optimal management such as surgery versus first-line assisted reproductive technology (ART) for patients with severe endometriosis is strongly debated. Current guidelines and literature including retrospective and prospective studies in English available on DE surgery, infertility, and pregnancy outcomes following surgery were searched in Cochrane Library with DE, DIE, Infertility, "DE surgery and pregnancy outcomes," and "Deep infiltrating endometriosis and assisted reproduction" as keywords. The purpose was to find evidence to answer the following clinical questions: How does DE affect fertility and pregnancy? What are the possible benefits of primary surgery for DIE before in vitro fertilization (IVF)? Several studies have recently concluded that surgical removal of DE nodules might actually have a favorable impact on IVF outcomes. This is in contradiction to European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology statement which stated that there was no evidence supporting surgical management of DE prior to ART to improve pregnancy rate; several studies have suggested that the surgical removal of DE nodules might actually have a favorable impact on IVF outcomes. Treatment of DE affecting the rectovaginal septum or bowel requires complex surgery with considerable risk of complications. This review article tries to analyze the rationale of surgical treatment of DE before ART. A balance must be struck between exposing the patient to surgical risk and improvement in pain and fertility potential. Decisions should be tailored according to the individual needs of each woman and most importantly on the ability of the surgeons.

Keywords: Deep endometriosis; deep endometriosis excision; deep infiltrating endometriosis; infertility with deep endometriosis.