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Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2001 Aug;56(8):483-91.

Fibroids and infertility: a systematic review of the evidence.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0056, USA.


A systematic literature review was performed to determine whether leiomyomata are associated with decreased fertility rates, and whether surgical removal increases fertility rates postoperatively. Meta-analysis was conducted when multiple studies addressed a single issue and were sufficiently homogeneous. Data were analyzed for effect of any fibroid upon fertility, as well as specific fibroid location. Results of studies comparing women with infertility and fibroids versus infertile controls showed widely disparate results. Subgroup analysis failed to indicate any effect on fertility of fibroids that did not have a submucous component. Conversely, women with submucous myomas demonstrated lower pregnancy rates (RR 0.30; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.13--0.70) and implantation rates (RR 0.28; 95% CI 0.10--0.72) than infertile controls. Results of surgical intervention were similar. When all fibroid locations were considered together, myomectomy results were again widely disparate. However, when women with submucous myomas were considered separately, pregnancy was increased after myomectomy compared with infertile controls (RR 1.72; 95% CI 1.13--2.58) and delivery rates were now equivalent to infertile women without fibroids (RR 0.98; 95% CI 0.45--2.41). The current data suggest that only those fibroids with a submucosal or an intracavitary component are associated with decreased reproductive outcomes, and that hysteroscopic myomectomy may be of benefit.


Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians


After completion of this article, the reader will be able to summarize the data on the role of fibroids and infertility, describe the effect of myomectomy on fertility, and list the methods used to evaluate intracavitary fibroids.

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