Reproductive Surgery FAQ

You may have many questions as you are thinking about your upcoming reproductive surgery. Our team of fertility experts is here for you to guide and assure you through any uncertainty. Here are some of the questions that we most commonly are asked.

Frequently asked questions

Nearly 90 percent of the infertility surgeries we perform are minimally invasive hysteroscopies or laparoscopies. This means that we enter either through the vagina, through the belly button, or through a very small incision (0.5 to 1 cm). The advantage of minimally invasive surgeries is that they often take place on a same-day outpatient basis, have minimal pain, and require a short recovery (one to two weeks). The surgery itself tends to take one to two hours. You can expect to check in during the morning and go home that afternoon. If your situation is complex, we will occasionally conduct a laparotomy, which is like a C-section incision, allowing more access. This procedure requires a hospital stay and a four-to-six-week recovery.

Yes, for laparoscopic, robotic, and open surgeries you receive general anesthesia. Since a hysteroscopy is fairly simple, you will be able to forgo full anesthesia and choose conscious sedation instead—a combination of intravenous medicines to keep you asleep and prevent you from feeling any pain. Regardless, know that our anesthesiologists are the best in the industry, all with extra training in caring for all patients, including those at high risk.

At Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, we have a full array of fertility services, including our endocrine laboratory, genetic counseling, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), ovulation induction, recurrent pregnancy loss solutions, and much more for women, men, and LGBTQ individuals. Many of these services are based in research, providing the very latest options for fertility. We encourage you to explore other options first if surgery is unappealing. Only about 25 percent of the people who visit our program end up having surgery. Surgery is used in specific situations, and in those situations it can mean the difference between conceiving or not.

If you have a condition that can be treated with surgery, your chances are fairly good that surgery will enhance your ability to conceive, carry, and deliver a baby. The vast majority of our patients, regardless of diagnosis, usually end up being successful in having a family. Sometimes it takes a combination of surgery with other fertility-enhancing services offered through our Fertility and Reproductive Health Program. Your success with surgery alone depends on your unique situation. Once we meet with you and perform an exam and imaging, we will be able to give you a good picture of your chances and provide all the information you need to make an informed decision on surgery.

No, all of our efforts are solely to enhance fertility. Our surgeons are extremely cautious. We remove unwanted tissue, such as fibroids, with the utmost care, ensuring that all normal tissues remain intact and undisturbed so that they can continue to function well. Before completing any surgery, we always consult with you and make sure you are aware of our full intentions and our process. We only perform the surgery we describe.

Yes, we are well versed in caring for women with complex health needs as well as women without health concerns. Because we are such a large health system with access to both pediatric and adult specialists, we are able to include all types of specialists on your care team to provide you with holistic, comprehensive care. It’s fairly common for us to bring in specialists, such as cardiologists or pulmonologists, to consult with as we conduct a surgery.

Yes, we are happy to meet with you and take a fresh look at your situation and give a second opinion. Even if you have been told that you can’t have a baby, we may be able to help you. We are also happy to coordinate care with your current provider. It’s helpful to know that some independent gynecologists perform surgeries, while others do not. Regardless, teaming up with your doctor is a welcomed opportunity.

Yes, in some instances reproductive surgery serves the dual purpose of enhancing fertility while also eliminating pelvic pain. A good example is with women who have endometriosis or fibroids that are causing cramping and pain. However, if pain is your only concern and you don’t have any reproductive issues, you may be better served by a dedicated pain specialist.