Relation between ovarian cysts and infertility What surgery and when

The relationship between ovarian cysts and infertility is controversial. In any case, good surgical practices must be kept in mind to preserve fertility.


Guillaume Legendre, M.D., Laurent Catala, M.D., Catherine Morinière, M.D., Céline Lacoeuille, M.D., Françoise Boussion, M.D., Loïc Sentilhes, M.D., Ph.D, Philippe Descamps, M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 101, Issue 3, Pages 608-614, March 2014


The relationship between ovarian cysts and infertility is a subject of debate, mainly because it is difficult to determine the real impact of the cyst and its treatment on later fertility. For a long time it was hoped that surgical treatment could prevent potential complications (such as rupture or malignancy). For presumed benign ovarian tumors, fertility sparing should be the main concern. The goal of this survey of current knowledge on the subject is to thoroughly explore the potential relationship between cysts, their treatment, and infertility. Our study is based on a review of the literature dealing with the epidemiology of ovarian cysts and the effects of their surgical management in relation to infertility. Analysis of the epidemiologic data, drawn mainly from comparative studies and cohorts, shows that the role of cysts in infertility is controversial and that the effects of surgical treatment are often more harmful than the cyst itself to the ovarian reserve. Surgery does not seem to improve pregnancy rates. When a surgical option is nonetheless chosen, a conservative laparoscopic approach is more suitable. Besides excision, sclerotherapy and plasma vaporization are promising, offering a greater preservation of the ovarian parenchyma, especially in endometriomas. These techniques must be better defined. The context of the infertility is essential, and surgeons and specialists in reproductive medicine should decide management jointly.

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