Is A Laparoscopy Beneficial for Infertility?
If you and your partner are experiencing problems with fertility the first thing your doctor is going to want to do is to identify what the cause of your infertility might be.
Doing a laparoscopy is one way to detect a variety of abnormalities that might lead to infertility such as ovarian cysts, scarring, damage to the fallopian tubes, endometriosis, fibroids, or any congenital abnormalities.
The laparoscopic procedure is minimally invasive so your recovery time will be very quick and comes with little or no risk.
If a surgical laparoscopy is not able to restore your fertility, your doctor will have the results from the laparoscopy available for future reference should you decide to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF).
This can save you needless IVF cycles and emotional stress and allow you and your partner to consider other options.
What is Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is used when a woman is having difficulty conceiving and becoming pregnant. Laparoscopy is used to identify the causes of infertility as well as treat some of these causes at the same time.
Your doctor will closely examine your reproductive system to determine if there are any abnormalities or blockages that can be preventing you from getting pregnant.
This includes an examination of the fallopian tubes, the uterus, as well as the ovaries. When laparoscopy is used for examination, it’s called a diagnostic laparoscopy.
When used to make corrections, such as removing adhesions, it’s called a surgical laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is not only performed on women who are having difficulty conceiving.
The procedure is also used to diagnose and treat an ectopic pregnancy or to investigate any problems with pain in the lower abdomen.
Laparoscopic Procedure to Diagnose Infertility
During the diagnostic laparoscopy procedure, a small incision will be made in the navel area.
Carbon dioxide is then pumped into the abdominal area so that it’s easier for the surgeon to examine the internal organs without an obstructed view.
The laparoscope, which is much like a tiny microscope with a light on the end, is then pushed carefully into the incision, giving the surgeon a close-up view of the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries as follows:
- A complete examination of the fallopian tubes to determine if there is any scarring or blockage.
- A thorough examination of the ovaries to look for any abnormalities or adhesions.
- Determine if endometriosis is evident and how severe it is.
- Determine if polycystic ovaries are evident.
- Inspection of the uterus to exclude any incidence of fibroids.
- A complete examination of the upper abdominal cavity, gall bladder, liver, appendix, and intestine.
Each of the above organs is carefully examined as well as the entire pelvic area. After the laparoscopy is complete, the surgeon will add a few stitches to close the incision or cover the area with bandages.
You’ll be asked to rest for a few hours after the procedure is over. The entire diagnostic laparoscopic procedure will take about one to two hours.
Once complete, your doctor will have a much better idea of what issues can be excluded from your infertility issues.
Laparoscopy Surgery to Correct Infertility
Either during a diagnostic laparoscopy or at a later time, surgical laparoscopy may be performed to correct any of the problems that were revealed during the diagnostic procedure.
Routine surgical laparoscopy includes the following:
- Removal of any ovarian cysts to increase the functioning of the ovaries.
- Removal of endometrial tissue that might be causing infertility.
- Removal of any scar tissue that is found around the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
- Opening blocked fallopian tubes.
- Removal of any uterine fibroids.
There is very little risk involved with surgical laparoscopy. A qualified and experienced surgeon will perform the laparoscopy, making informed decisions throughout the procedure.
Depending on the type of surgical laparoscopy performed, you may be required to remain in the hospital for one or two days. You may feel some pain in your abdomen or in your arms and shoulders.
This arm and shoulder pain is due to the carbon dioxide that was used to make it easier for the surgeon to see into the abdominal cavity.
Your doctor may prescribe a mild painkiller for you. Very rare complications of laparoscopic surgery include bleeding, injury to blood vessels, or injuries to the abdomen.
When to Choose Laparoscopy to Diagnose Infertility
The laparoscopic procedure is considered to be both costly and invasive in the sense that your body is being examined internally.
For these reasons, a laparoscopy isn’t usually the first test used to determine infertility issues.
Before you’re given a laparoscopy your doctor will have first exhausted other testing to find out why you and your partner are unable to conceive.
This includes an assessment of whether or not you’re ovulating and analysis of your partner’s semen.
If it’s apparent that there is a problem with your menstrual and ovulation cycles, or if it’s detected that your partner has a low sperm count, performing a laparoscopy isn’t going to provide you and your doctor with any additional information to help you conceive.