Laparoscopy for infertility is a procedure that can be done for either diagnostic or treatment purposes or for both.
“Laparoscopy is considered the gold standard for diagnosing and correcting fertility problems, as not all pelvic problems may be visible through routine evaluations like ultrasounds,” explains Dr. Priti Arora Dhamija, Senior Gynecologist & Fertility Expert, Sitaram Bhartia Hospital in South Delhi.
Why is laparoscopy done for infertility?
A laparoscopic procedure may be recommended when you have trouble conceiving, which may be associated with any of the following
- Unexplained pelvic pain
- Unexplained pain after intercourse
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Ovarian cysts
- Prior bilateral tubal blockage seen on Hysterosalpingography (HSG)
The procedure allows your fertility specialist to look inside your pelvis and observe any growths, adhesions or scarred tissue that may have been missed earlier and not detected through any ultrasound.
“The procedure allows us to diagnose, evaluate and treat the condition so found as long as prior consent is taken from the patient before the surgery.”
How is laparoscopy for infertility performed?
A fertility specialist will make two incisions, one near your pubic area and the other below the belly button. A laparoscope, which is a long, thin instrument that is fitted with a camera, will be inserted through one incision and surgical instruments are inserted through the other incision.
The fertility specialist will be able to view your reproductive organs such as the fallopian tubes and uterus with the help of the laparoscope and detect the presence of any abnormal condition.
“In case prior consent is taken, your surgeon may also treat the condition or remove the abnormal findings at the time it is detected, saving you the time and trouble of going through another procedure later, “ says Dr. Priti.
Is laparoscopy for infertility painful?
The procedure is performed with general anesthesia, so you are unlikely to feel pain. The side effects associated with laparoscopy for infertility are few and include infection near the incision or in the bladder and possibility of adhesions forming after the procedure.
How is laparoscopy for infertility helpful?
Laparoscopy for infertility has the following advantages
- Few, small incisions which make it minimally invasive surgery
- Faster recovery time, compared to open surgery
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less pain
Despite the benefits, laparoscopy is eventually surgery, and therefore should be discussed at length with your doctor; the expected recurrence of the condition or reason for which it is being done should be explained and alternatives should be evaluated before finalizing the procedure.
The recovery time for laparoscopy for infertility depends on whether it is a diagnostic procedure or operative procedure. A diagnostic laparoscopy for infertility can take about 30 minutes and you can be discharged in a few hours.
“You may be advised to rest for a few days.”
“The duration of recovery with a laparoscopy procedure depends on the grade of the procedure, where grade 1 is for diagnostic purposes, grade 2 involves removal of adhesions, grade 3 involves cyst removal and grade 4 is a myomectomy. This is best discussed with your doctor.”
The cost in India for laparoscopy for infertility depends on the type of the procedure done, hospital set up and skill and experience of the gynecological surgeon.
How can I prepare for laparoscopy for infertility?
You will be advised to avoid eating 6-8 hours before the procedure. You will be given medications intravenously and the procedure will be done with general anaesthesia. Make sure you inform the anaesthetists of any conditions or sensitivity to anaesthesia before surgery.
Has anyone gotten pregnant after a laparoscopy?
Yes, it is possible for women to conceive after a laparoscopy. The success rates for laparoscopy for infertility vary depending on your age, and have been seen to be higher in women younger than 35 years.
How soon can you try to conceive after laparoscopy?
It is advised waiting for about 3 to 6 months after an operative laparoscopy to allow the stitches to heal.
Pregnancy after Laparoscopy for Infertility: A Success Story
Simran Kakkar, 35 approached Dr. Priti after several attempts at conceiving for a year. When medical management did not help, the doctor suggested the option of laparoscopy for infertility, especially since Simran was not keen on delaying conception further.
The procedure revealed accumulation of blood around the ovaries, a condition known as endometriosis. The doctor proceeded to remove the affected tissue considering the severity of the condition.
Simran was advised to try to conceive again after atleast three months. Though disappointed when she didn’t get pregnant upon trying the first time, she didn’t lose hope.
She finally got pregnant five months after surgery and went on to deliver a healthy boy under the doctor’s guidance.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Priti Arora Dhamija
MBBS, Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi (1999); M.D, Lady Hardinge Medical College (2004); DNB Obstetrics & Gynecology (2004); Diploma in Pelvic Endoscopy, Kiel, Germany (2014)
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You may also like to read:
- Getting Pregnant with Blocked Fallopian Tubes: Diagnosis, Treatment & What to Do
- 3 Things to Know for IVF Pregnancy
- Oocyte Retrieval in IVF: Procedure, Preparation & Recovery