In cases of PCOS, the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of male sex hormones that are usually present in women in small amounts. Impacting ovulation, androgens cause cysts to grow around the ovaries. Common PCOS symptoms include irregular periods, enlarged ovaries, excessive body hair, weight gain, and infertility. ART medications can help ovaries release eggs normally. However, fertility medications come with side effects such as bloating, headaches, breast tenderness, upset stomach, hot flashes, mood swings, and multiple pregnancies.
While some ART medications run the risk of multiple pregnancies, a specific strategy helps minimize the risk for women with PCOS. Elective single-embryo transfer (eSET) is a procedure where a pre-selected embryo is placed either in the uterus or directly into the fallopian tube. Rather than implanting two or more embryos, eSET transfers a single embryo when multiple embryos are available. Depending on needs, the selected embryo could be from a previous IVF cycle or a current IVF cycle that produced more than one viable embryo. In many cases, extra viable embryos may be set aside for future use or preservation by freezing. For women with PCOS on fertility medication, eSET maximizes the chance of pregnancy while reducing the odds of multiple pregnancies.
Successfully managing infertility
Caused by a diverse number of environmental and genetic factors, PCOS causes discomfort for countless women across the US. By the time a woman is ready for pregnancy, a set number of eggs, or opportunities remain for conception. PCOS and the condition’s negative impact on fertility make the set number of opportunities all the more important. However, reproductive technology can help maximize every opportunity for conception.