Chlamydia is one of the most common causes of pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.(GETTY IMAGES)Lisa, a computer executive and massage therapist from Concord, Calif., was 26 when she started trying to get pregnant. When she wasn't successful, her doctor recommended a fertility workup. It can't be me, Lisa thought. I come from a family of Fertile Myrtles. But in fact, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) had gone undetected for what the doctor estimated was 10 or 12 years and left her with fallopian tubes that she says were "disintegrated like an old garden hose."
"Basically you don't have any fallopian tubes" is what the doctor told Lisa. He showed her X-rays. "From the way it looked," she says, "they were damaged beyond surgery. I was standing at the light box looking at the X-ray and I was just in shock that I wasn't going to be able to conceive. I probably cried for a good two days."
Lisa was angry too. She'd had regular gynecological exams and Pap smears the whole time that the STD was ravaging her tubes. But she was never tested for chlamydia, the probable cause. "It was not something that was even brought up," she says.
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Fortunately Lisa was able to conceive through in vitro fertilization and bear a healthy daughter. She adopted her second child partly because her insurance had changed and she knew she couldn't afford to do in vitro fertilization again.