my uterus is a unicorn

The Last Unicorn

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:

  1. 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.
  2. It is the rarest form of uterine abnormalities (present in 0.1% of the unselected population, or approx. 1 in 1000 women).
  3. 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!)
  4. Considered to have the second worst obstetric outcome.
  5. Spontaneous abortion rates are reported to range from 41-62%. Premature birth rates (reported) range from 10-20%.
  6. 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.