PCOS is a medical diagnosis that affects roughly 8-10% of women of reproductive age. In other words, it is very common. PCOS is characterised by a hormonal imbalance. This often causes problems with a woman’s cycles and can make getting pregnant difficult without treatment.
PCOS is called such because many women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries. These cysts although generally not dangerous, they often lead to severe hormone imbalances which can lead to infertility.
PCOS and Fertility Problems:
Given that the reproductive system is regulated and orchestrated by the endocrine system (hormone) and the hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS, many women with PCOS suffer from infertility. Most frequently, women with PCOS do not release an egg (ovulate) regularly. This is known as anovulation.
During a normal cycle, a woman develops many follicles, which contain the egg cell. When the egg cell is appropriately developed, usually around day 14 of the cycle, the woman’s body releases one of these egg cells (ovulation).
Women with PCOS often develop many small, antral follicles, with eggs in them, however, they fail to fully develop and mature so they are never ovulated.
How common is infertility with PCOS?
While there aren’t many good statistical numbers to quote, the infertility rate of those with PCOS is very high and most require some sort of fertility treatment to improve their odds.
That said, there are many treatments available for those with PCOS including ovulation induction, IUI, IVF, and other reproductive technologies. Most women require ovulation induction at the very least since those with PCOS ovulate only occasionally if at all.