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Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). 2012 Sep-Oct;58(5):607-14.

Minimal and mild endometriosis negatively impact on pregnancy outcome.

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Center for Reproductive Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Women's Health Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Endometriosis, a highly prevalent gynecological disease, can lead to infertility in moderate to severe cases. Whether minimal stages are associated with infertility is still unclear. The purpose of this systematic review is to present studies regarding the association between pregnancy rates and the presence of early stages of endometriosis. Studies regarding infertility, minimal (stage I, American Society of Reproductive Medicine [ASRM]) and mild (stage II, ASRM) endometriosis were identified by searching on the MEDLINE database from 1985 to September 2011 using the following MESH terms: endometriosis; infertility; minimal; mild endometriosis; pregnancy rate. 1188 articles published between January of 1985 and November of 2011 were retrieved; based on their titles, 1038 citations were excluded. Finally, after inclusion and exclusion criteria, 16 articles were selected to be part of this systematic review. Several reasons have been discussed in the literature to explain the impact of minimal endometriosis on fertility outcome, such as: ovulatory dysfunction, impaired folliculogenesis, defective implantation, decrease embryo quality, abnormal immunological peritoneal environment, and luteal phase problems. Despite the controversy involving the topic, the largest randomized control trial, published by Marcoux et al. in 1997 found a statistically different pregnancy rate after resection of superficial endometrial lesions. Earlier stages of endometriosis play a critical role in infertility, and most likely negatively impact pregnancy outcomes. Further studies into stage I endometriosis, especially randomized controlled trials, still need to be conducted.

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