|Original Image from "Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed" blog|
Ovarian drilling is an operation used in women who suffer from PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - a complex yet common condition, affecting around 1 in 10 women of child-bearing age, with varying symptoms. As with endometriosis, not that much is known about what causes PCOS and there is currently no cure for either conditions. The difference with PCOS, unlike endometriosis, is that many teenage girls find out quite early on they have the condition because they experience irregular periods, or when a woman is TTC she realises she is not and has not been ovulating. But as with endometriosis, some women do not realise they have the condition until they start trying to conceive, as was the case with my mum.
Although the cause of PCOS isn't clear, there seems to be a link between a woman's lifestyle and the symptoms she experiences. According to the Verity - A UK charity for women whose lives are affected by PCOS - the symptoms of PCOS can be managed by a woman, as she makes some recommended changes to her lifestyle and diet (If you or a friend /relative have PCOS it would be worth checking out the Verity website for information, support or resources, as I can't cover everything here).
There are other health risks associated with PCOS, including the risk of developing diabetes, so as a result, a woman who is subfertile will be offered a different form of Fertility Drug Treatment with a lower insulin content. When this seems to not be working, then a woman suffering from PCOS will be offered the surgical procedure.... the Ovarian drilling. As with the operation I face, this procedure is also laparoscopic under general anesthetic, meaning that a small incision is made at the belly button, gas will be used to inflate the abdomen, and a small camera is used by the surgeon to see what he or she if doing. End of the similarities between our two procedures!
In order to understand why the ovaries have to be drilled, it is important to realise that a woman suffering from PCOS is producing too much testosterone in her body, causing cysts to develop on her ovaries which are immature, undeveloped follicles containing an egg. This is why she may not ovulate, and explains the irregularity of her periods because her body is not giving off the right signals on time.
So the ovarian drilling procedure involves a surgeon making anywhere between 4 and 20 holes, approximately 3mms wide and 3mms deep, in one or both of a woman's ovaries, in order to eliminate the testosterone-induced areas where the hormone is perceived to be at its highest level - the cysts.
As with all types of fertility surgery, the rates of success are not fully known or understood, but it's thought to have around a 40%-60% success rate. When you are struggling to conceive Bubba - any chance of success is better than none, which is why women like us will go through with the surgical procedure if it means we have that little extra opportunity to conceive our Bubba as naturally as possible.
Father God, I lift up to you my friend "T" and others like her who face an operation to give her a little extra chance to conceive. Lord, I pray Your peace would envelope them, that You would comfort them with Your presence, upholding her in Your arms as she lays down in the operating theatre. Lord, watch over her and watch over the surgeons and nurses involved, that the surgery would be carried out quickly, easily and without any complications to her, to her body or to her future chance of conceiving a baby. Father God, I pray You would be with her during her time of recovery, that You would grant a speedy healing, whispering Your love and promises for her future deep within her spirit and heart. But more importantly Lord, I ask that You would grant her that glimmer of hope, that percentage of success, that she would conceive her baby. Father, I pray that the child, when he or she is conceived, will develop fully, healthily and in full strength, as You knit the child together in its mother's womb. Father, have Your hand upon every woman and her Hubby who puts their faith in You for this surgical step in her fertility journey. In Jesus name I pray.