How Congenital Pelvic Abnormalities Affect Fertility By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on February 28, 2017

A woman's reproductive systemThe team at Houston Fertility Center believes that best treatments begin with a proper assessment of the causes of infertility. We place a lot of importance on the examination and testing process to help diagnose the root cause of causes of infertility. From there, a custom infertility treatment plan can be created and implemented.

This stress on diagnosis is especially important when dealing with congenital disorders. Certain issues that affect the pelvis can make getting pregnant difficult, and it can also lead to issues with fetal health that increase the risk of miscarriage or difficult birth.

About Pelvic Factor Infertility

Broadly speaking, pelvic factor infertility refers to cases in which there is some abnormality that involves a woman's reproductive organs. Many times this is the result of injury or illness, though our primary concern is congenital problems that affect a woman's reproductive organs. These are issues that are present at birth that can make pregnancy and successful live birth a challenge.

Uterine Malformation

Its been estimated that 7.3% of women who experience infertility experience some form of uterine malformation. Further, 16% of women who experience a miscarriage or a recurrent miscarriage have a uterine malformation. These can take a number of different forms, which include the following:

  • Müllerian Agenesis (total lack of a uterus)
  • Unicornuate Uterus (a one-sided uterus)
  • Uterus Didelphys (double uterus)
  • Bicornuate Uterus (uterus with two horns)
  • Septated Uterus (uterine septum or partition)

Issues with Ovaries

In addition to problems involving the uterus, there are also congenital issues that affect the ovaries and the viability of eggs. In some cases, a woman may have just one ovary or no ovaries at all. There may also be issues with the size of the ovaries, an additional ovary, or additional tissue attached to an ovary, all of which can impact fertility.

Issues with the Fallopian Tubes

As with the uterus and ovaries, the health of the fallopian tubes can also be affected by congenital issues and abnormalities. The most notable condition that affects the fallopian tubes is known as fallopian tube agenesis, which is an absence of one or both fallopian tubes.

Issues with Pelvic Size and Shape

There are some cases in which a woman's pelvis itself is of concern. It can be much harder to deliver a child vaginally because of these anatomical concerns. There are, generally speaking, four types of pelvises:

  • Gynecoid – Oval in shape, this is an ideal form for the female pelvis, and one that makes delivery easier.

  • Anthropoid – Similar to the gynecoid pelvis, though longer and more ovoid in shape.

  • Android – More triangular in shape, this pelvic type can make the deliver of larger babies challenging.

  • Platypelloid – Only 3% to 5% of women are estimate to have this pelvis shape, which is characterized as very short comparatively.

Beyond these four types, a woman may have serious congenital issues that affect the shape and condition of the pelvis, making traditional birth and delivery a major problem.

What Treatment Options Are Available?

Once your issue has been properly diagnosed, we can then turn our attention to the ideal approach to fertility. While in vitro fertilization (IVF) may seem ideal for certain cases, it may be important to consider a surrogate. Surrogate carriers can be screened carefully to ensure proper health and low risk of miscarriage or other problems carrying a child to term. During the consultation process, we can go over these topics in much greater detail.

Contact Houston Fertility Center

For more information about your many fertility treatment options, be sure to contact our advanced fertility treatment center today. The team at Houston Fertility Center is here to help you start the family of your dreams.

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Dr. Sonja Kristiansen

Houston Fertility Center

Dr. Sonja Kristiansen is the founder and Medical Director of Houston Fertility Center. She is a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist Infertility (REI) specialist who is proud to help hopeful parents fulfill their dreams of having children. Our center is affiliated with the:

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Texas Medical Association

We provide convenient care for patients from greater Houston and visitors from out of town. For more information about our services, contact our office online or call (713) 225-5375 today.

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