Fertility is as Amazing as it is Mysterious

Dawn Davenport


Shows like the one we did yesterday on Uterine Abnormalities: Effect on Conception and Pregnancy always leave me with a weird

mixture of awe and frustration! We know so much and yet so little about conception, infertility, pregnancy, and birth. Our guests were Dr. Robin Fogle, a Reproductive Endocrinologist, and Dr. Thomas Trevett, a maternal and fetal medicine specialist.


Under the awe category, it’s frickin’ amazing that babies are born at all—so many opportunities for things to go wrong, but most of the time, they don’t. We were talking yesterday about abnormalities of the female reproductive organs. It all starts in the first couple of weeks after conception with two simple tubes, which quickly start differentiating into the uterus, cervix, and vagina. Thousands, no millions, of chances exist for something to go wrong, and yet only 3-4% of women have Müllerian abnormalities (defects of the uterus, Fallopian tubes, and vagina). If we look at the population of women who have had recurrent miscarriages, the percentage is up to 10%. And perhaps more amazing of all– about a third of these defects can be surgically corrected with a relatively simple operation, and the success rate for conception and pregnancy post-surgery is high. Wow, indeed!


With all we know about the human body, we still don’t know much about labor and miscarriage. We’ll be doing a show within a couple of months on the latest research on the causes and preventions of pregnancy loss, but we talked yesterday with a maternal and fetal medicine specialist about pre-term labor, which is a common problem for women with uterine deformities. Dr. Trevett said something that blew me away:

Even now in 2013 the process of labor is a big black hole. We have hypotheses, but not a perfect understanding. There is much we can do to stop premature birth, but our understanding is far from perfect.

Well darn. It’s hard to stop labor when you don’t understand what starts it.

Even if you aren’t particularly interested in uterine abnormalities and their effect on getting and staying pregnant, I recommend this show as a reminder of the miracle and mystery of the human body.


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What we talked about on this show:

  • Uterine Abnormalities-Effect on Conception and Pregnancy
  • What are the most common müllerian anomalies, also known as uterine abnormalities?
  • Unicornuate uterus
  • Uterus didelphys (UD): Commonly referred to as a ‘double uterus’.
  • Septate uterus
  • Bicornuate uterus
  • Arcuate uterus
  • Are uterine defects in the baby more common if the mother takes birth control pills during pregnancy?
  • How common are uterine abnormalities in the general population?
  • How common are müllerian defects in those women with recurrent pregnancy loss?
  • How do defects of the uterus affect getting pregnant?
  • Do deformities of the reproductive tract in women cause infertility?
  • How do mullerian defects affect staying pregnant-do they increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth?
  • How are abnormalities of the female reproductive tract diagnosed?
  • How are uterine abnormalities treated? Is it always necessary to treat them?
  • What are the chances of getting pregnant after treatment?
  • How to carry a baby to term or close to term if you have a uterine abnormality?
  • Are müllerian anomalies a common cause of recurrent miscarriages?
  • What can be done to help pregnant women with uterine abnormalities?
  • What other abnormalities or defects might also accompany mullerian abnormalities?
  • What percentage of women with uterine abnormalities are able to carry a baby to term?
  • What is Adenomyosis?
  • Does Adenomyosis cause infertility?
  • Does Adenomyosis cause recurrent miscarriages?
  • How is Adenomyosis diagnosed? Does it need to be treated?
  • What are the symptoms of Adenomyosis?
  • Does a tilted uterus affect fertility?
  • Does a tilted uterus increase your chances of preterm birth?
  • Does a tilted uterus increase your odds of miscarriage?


21/03/2013 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 11 Comments

11 Responses to Fertility is as Amazing as it is Mysterious

  1. Avatar Clay Hunter says:

    You hit the nail on the head when you said “Under the awe category, it’s frickin’ amazing that babies are born at all” I see it day in and day out working at an infertility clinic. For some this miracle comes so freely and at times undesired, but for others it becomes their greatest challenge. Thank you for posting about these things, much appreciate.

  2. Avatar louisa says:

    Thanks for the this! Inspiring.

  3. Avatar FrozenOJ says:

    The more I learn about TTC, the more amazed I am that we ever became the dominant species rather than dying off.

  4. Avatar Natalia says:

    Aren’t we all a miracle?! 🙂

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Natalia, you know it’s funny–even though the show was about defects or what could go wrong with fetal development, it honestly for some reason left me totally with the feeling you so wonderfully expressed!

  5. Avatar Dawn S. says:

    After learning so much while going through treatments I have been known to say that it just seems literally impossible for anyone ever to just wake up pregnant one day! The bazillion things that have to be just perfect even prior to implantation make anyone’s pregnancy such a magical wonder to me.

  6. Avatar Dawn S. says:

    When my stepsister got pregnant unassisted with her identical twin girls I was funnelling a ton of questions through my dad and he, with some medical knowledge base of his own, asked me what the heck I was talking about. Later I had to hide my shock that some identical twin questions all of us would be asking our doctor hadn’t been asked by my stepsister. I forget that fertiles spend lots of their time just trusting the dr to tell them what they need to know when they need to know it. They are very lucky to have their blissful ignorance and I felt bad peppering her with questions. 🙂

  7. Avatar Dawn S. says:

    LOL! That is hilarious! And so true.

  8. Avatar Dawn Davenport says:

    Dawn, I guess because I’m immersed in the world of infertility I have to work on not expressing shock when someone tells me they conceived quickly. About a year or so ago an acquaintance, who was in her mid to late 30s, told me she was pregnant, and I responded by asking what she had done. She looked at me like I had horns, and said, “Well, the usual, I guess.” I was so embarrassed and my explanations came across pretty lame.

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