PCOS can interfere with getting pregnant in a number of ways. You may need to see a fertility specialist to get pregnant if you have no menstrual periods at all, very irregular menstrual periods, or periods that are extremely heavy when they do come. To determine if PCOS symptoms are interfering with your ability to get pregnant, a fertility doctor may

  • Do an ultrasound of your ovaries. Women with PCOS may have multiple cysts on each ovary — this symptom gives the disorder its name. Cysts form when follicles containing eggs don’t develop and mature properly.

  • Check the hormone levels in your blood. When you have PCOS, you may have an abnormal ratio of luteinizing hormone (LH) to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This type of hormone imbalance interferes with normal egg production.

  • Check for physical signs of high insulin levels, which can impact reproductive hormones. Women with high levels of insulin may develop a skin condition known as acanthosis nigricans, dark, velvet-like skin around body folds and creases in areas around the neck, armpits, knees, and knuckles.

To get pregnant, you may need to:

  • Take fertility medications that induce egg development and ovulation. These medications include Clomid, as well as injectable fertility medications called gonadotropins.

  • Undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF involves taking medications to improve egg production followed by removal of the eggs from the ovaries after the eggs mature, normally after several weeks. The eggs and sperm are then put together in the laboratory to form an embryo. The embryo is put back into the uterus after two to five days, depending on your fertility clinic’s practices.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Gaynor Bussell, RD, is a registered dietitian, consultant, nutritionist, and a member of the Health Professions Council and the Nutrition Society in the United Kingdom. She has specialized in women's health nutrition for over twenty years.

Sharon Perkins, RN, was a nurse coordinator for in vitro fertilization at the Cooper In Vitro Center for Hormonal Disorders. She is coauthor of Infertility For Dummies.

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