Will having a septate uterus affect my fertility?

Q: I just found out I have a septate uterus. Will it affect my ability to get or stay pregnant?

A: A septate uterus is a congenital condition in which a thin membrane called a septum divides the uterus, either partially or completely. While the condition does not affect a woman's ability to conceive, it can impact a pregnancy's outcome. "We see a higher risk of first- and second-trimester pregnancy loss with septate uterus," says Beth W. Rackow, M.D., an assistant professor of OB-GYN at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. "There is also an increased risk of preterm labor." Luckily, a septate uterus can be treated before pregnancy with a minor procedure called a hysteroscopy. "This involves inserting surgical instruments through the cervix and removing the septum without having to make an abdominal incision," Rackow explains. It's usually done on an outpatient basis. Septate uterus is the most common congenital uterine malformation, affecting 1 percent of all women. Because there are varying degrees of severity, "Not everyone needs to be treated," Rackow says. "If you do, it's comforting to know that this is the only congenital uterine anomaly that can be fixed with a minimally invasive procedure, thereby improving reproductive outcomes."