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PCOS and IVF

For a condition that affects such a high proportion of the population, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is not very well understood. The NHS estimates as many as one in five women in the UK could be affected – that’s a full 20% of the female population. Unfortunately, such is the stigma about discussing fertility issues and ‘intimate’ health conditions, sharing information about the condition is difficult. With overstretched doctors not always able to provide a full explanation of the syndrome in the time available, many people can be left after their diagnosis feeling fearful and like they have no chance of getting pregnant with IVF.

While it’s a remarkable field that has helped many people have children who otherwise could not, there are plenty of reasons why it’s not a preferred choice for a lot of people. Today we’re looking at PCOS and IVF: is it an inevitable relationship or can you conceive naturally even when you do have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

How Does PCOS Affect Fertility?

PCOS can impact your fertility by affecting your menstrual cycle. The syndrome begins to take hold when your body starts to produce too much insulin. This insulin overdose also causes (both directly and indirectly) increased production of androgens (specifically testosterone, the male sex hormone) and oestrogen. This means the hormone driven processes that lead to an egg being released from your ovaries at the middle point of your cycle are subject to interference and delay.

While PCOS can cause your body to skip ovulating altogether, it’s much more common for it to cause you to have a longer, unpredictable cycle. This means it’s hard to identify that key period when you’re at your most fertile: the five days running up to when you ovulate, and the day after, when the most sperm stand the best chance of encountering and therefore potentially fertilising the egg.

A Natural Pregnancy with PCOS

The key to getting pregnant when you have PCOS is identifying when you ovulate. Many women with PCOS think they’re not ovulating, but in fact it’s harder to spot. Using hormone based predictor kits doesn’t work when you have this condition, as the hormonal disturbances that cause PCOS also stop the tests being able to pick up a result.

OvuSense can help. Our system checks your basal body temperature to produce a prediction of when you’re going to ovulate and therefore when you’re going to be at your most fertile, even with the background interference of PCOS: this gives you a boosted chance of getting pregnant without IVF treatments.