Laparoscopy will allow the diagnosis of infertility problems that would otherwise be missed. For instance, a woman who has severe endometriosis can be identified by using ultrasound. A woman with mild endometriosis can only be identified using surgery such as laparoscopy.
Another problem that can only be identified through surgery are pelvic adhesions. Also known as scar tissue, adhesions cannot be seen with ultrasound, x-rays or CT scans. Adhesions can interfere with the ability to conceive if they make it more difficult for the egg to get into the fallopian tube at the time of ovulation.
Many people view laparoscopy as a less invasive surgery than traditional surgery. Traditional surgery requires making an incision in the abdomen which is several centimeters long. This in turn means that the patient has to spend two to three nights in the hospital.
Laparoscopy utilizes one to three smaller incisions. Each incision may be one half a centimeter to a full centimeter in length. Most often, patients who have had a laparoscopy will be able to go home the same day as the surgery. In other words, a hospital stay is not usually required.
Generally, laparoscopy should be reserved for couples who have already completed a more basic infertility evaluation including assessing for ovulation, ovarian reserve, ultrasound and hysterosalpingogram for the female and semen analysis for the male.
Some couples may elect to skip laparoscopy in favor of proceeding to other fertility treatments such as fertility medications combined with intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization.
There may be instances in which the fertility doctor may have a high suspicion for finding problems with laparoscopy. If a woman had a history of a severe pelvic infection or a ruptured appendix, this would increase the likelihood that she may have pelvic adhesions and therefore more likely to benefit from laparoscopy.