Epilepsy and Fertility

There is some evidence to show that epilepsy slightly reduces a woman’s fertility. However, this effect is usually treatable.

Having epilepsy and taking anti-epileptic drugs does not prevent a woman from receiving fertility treatment. A few women may experience a small increase in the number of seizures when taking certain hormone-based fertility drugs.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex condition that affects the ovaries. Women with PCOS have bigger than average ovaries. The outer surface of the ovaries has an abnormally large number of small follicles. For the woman this means that she rarley ovulates (releases an egg) and so is less fertile. In addition, she does not have regular periods and may go for many weeks without a period. Other features of the condition are excess weight and excess body hair.

PCOS is more common in women with epilepsy than in women without epilepsy. There is some evidence to suggest that it is more commone in women who are taking the anti-epileptic drug sodium valproate (Epilim). Where PCOS is related to sodium valproate the effect is thought to be reversible when the drug is withdrawn. If you have concerns about PCOS, you could seek advice from your doctor.

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