Medical Q&As

PCOS - possible to conceive?

If you suffer from polycystic ovaries does this mean that you will be unable to ever have children?

One of the effects of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is that ovulation may not occur or it may occur very sporadically or infrequently. Such irregularity can make it very difficult for a woman to conceive. In many cases a woman does not realise she has the syndrome until she is investigated for infertility. A great deal can be done to assist such women to conceive. One of the most widely used treatments for inducing ovulation is clomiphene, which stimulates egg release from the ovary. It is estimated that 80% of women with PCOS using clomiphene do ovulate but only 30% actually become pregnant. However, there are other treatments, such as gonadotrophin injections, which can work when clomiphene has failed. Some women who do not conceive by using these drugs might do so by combining a drug to stimulate ovulation in combination with intrauterine insemination with the partnerís sperm. A further group might need to use in-vitro fertilisation to become pregnant. In summary, a diagnosis of PCOS does not preclude the possibility of becoming pregnant.