Pregnancy may be possible after uterine artery embolization of fibroids

December 1, 2010

Although there is no guarantee of fertility, some women can safely become pregnant and deliver healthy babies after undergoing uterine artery embolization for fibroids, according to a retrospective study.

Although there is no guarantee of fertility, some women can safely become pregnant and deliver healthy babies after undergoing uterine artery embolization (UAE) for fibroids, according to the findings of a small retrospective study from Portugal.

Researchers included 74 women between the ages of 29 and 43 years from a single university-affiliated hospital in their study. All of the women had undergone UAE and wanted to become pregnant.

At 4.5 years follow-up, more than half (59.5%) of the women had become pregnant spontaneously and without any medically assisted reproductive techniques. Although the women had been counseled to wait at least 6 months before becoming pregnant, pregnancy occurred as early as 2 months and as late as 22 months after the procedure.

Two-thirds (22) of the deliveries were cesarean, 11 were vaginal, and 2 were preterm at 36 weeks' gestation. Five (15.2%) infants were of low birth weight, a rate the researchers said matches that for the general population of women in their late 30s.

Given that myomectomy can be difficult in women with numerous interstitial and/or submucosal fibroids, and recurrence rates for fibroid tumors may be higher with myomectomy, UAE may provide a fertility-preserving alternative for some women.

Pisco JM, Duarte M, Bilhim T, Cirurgião F, Oliveira AG. Pregnancy after uterine fibroid embolization. Fertil Steril. September 24, 2010. Epub ahead of print.