Surgery for Ovarian Cysts and Infertility Open Access

Hussain, Banna (Spring 2018)

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Surgery for Ovarian Cysts and Infertility


By Banna Hussain



Ovarian cysts occur commonly among women of reproductive age. Some cysts become large enough to cause problems and require surgical removal. About 8% of premenopausal women develop ovarian cysts that require surgical treatment. Laparoscopic removal of ovarian cysts has been shown to affect ovarian reserve; however, little is known about the association between ovarian cysts that require surgery and infertility. This study aims to examine this association.



We used data from the FUSCHIA Women’s Study, a study of reproductive age women (22-45 years old) living in Georgia. All women completed an interview about reproductive health, including whether they had ever had surgery to remove ovarian cysts. Infertility was assessed based on two definitions: 1) experiencing a period of 12 months or more of unprotected sex not resulting in pregnancy after age 20 (infertility) and 2) experiencing a period of 12 months or longer when attempting to get pregnant after age 20, not resulting in pregnancy (infertility while attempting pregnancy). We fit Cox proportional hazard models to quantify the association between surgery to remove ovarian cysts and infertility.



This study included 2,125 reproductive age women with 36% reporting infertility and 7% reporting having had surgery to remove ovarian cysts. Women who had surgery to remove ovarian cysts had an increased hazard of ever experiencing infertility [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.25, 95% CI: 0.94, 1.64] and of experiencing infertility while trying to get pregnant [HR= 1.36, 95% CI: 0.93, 1.97] compared with women who did not have surgery.



Having a history of surgery for ovarian cyst removal was associated with a history of infertility. However, it is unclear whether this is due to the surgery or to a factor that puts women with cysts at risk for experiencing infertility.    

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