I have a unicornuate uterus.
Basically, it all boils down to this one unalterable fact.
When I was first told this a few years ago, after having a laparoscopy, the words kind of floated around in the air above me, never quite making contact and sinking in. Okay, so I have a misshaped uterus. My RE seemed unconcerned by this fact, so I put it out of my mind.
Fast forward to a few days ago, when I met with our new RE at a new infertility clinic. He went into great detail about what our options are, considering this abnormality. There is only one option: IVF. See, with a unicornuate uterus, I cannot have multiple births. Twins are completely out of the question because the risk is too high for a host of complications (highest on the list being preterm delivery). So, that rules out inject-able hormones.
Did you know that the risk of twins jumps from (approximately) 5% to (approximately) 35% with inject-able hormones?
Yeah, I had no clue.
Naturally, I went home and immediately googled the term unicorneate uterus. Here are some of the facts I found:
- A unicornuate uterus occurs in the womb, when the uterus never full develops. It is half the size of a normal uterus and there is only one fallopian tube.
- It is the rarest form of uterine abnormalities (present in 0.1% of the unselected population, or approx. 1 in 1000 women).
- It is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, preterm premature rupture of membranes, breech presentation, cesarean section, placenta previa, placental abruption and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR). (Yikes!)
- Considered to have the second worst obstetric outcome.
- Spontaneous abortion rates are reported to range from 41-62%. Premature birth rates (reported) range from 10-20%.
- Fetal survival rate is approx. 40%.
Frankly, those stats scare me half to death.
As much as I may wish for some sort of different outcome, there is no procedure that exists to fix this sort of problem. They cannot fix what, in essence, never existed. I am left with a feeling of, “Lord, what now?”
However, I refuse to give up. Not yet. I have read lots of successful birth stories with this abnormality (thank you, Internet), and Dr. Allemand seems confident that it can be done. So, despite this immense dose of reality, a flicker of hope still remains. We will continue with the process of preparing for IVF. I feel like I have to give it at least one shot, exhaust all my options, you know?
Otherwise, I would always be plagued with the dreaded “what-if…”
Unicorn in featured image (c) The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.