William N. Burns, MD, FACOG

The Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, headed by William N. Burns, MD, serves patients with infertility caused by endometriosis, tubal scarring or blockage, polycystic ovary syndrome, and other diseases associated with infrequent or irregular menstruation and ovulation. Couples in whom the male partner has suboptimal sperm production (male factor infertility) are also commonly seen. Treatment is available for patients with cervical and uterine disorders such as fibroids, polyps, and scarring which potentially interfere with fertility. Women who experience recurrent miscarriage may benefit from subspecialty fertility care. Patients are treated with a wide variety of modalities, including oral and injectable medications, assisted reproductive techniques such as intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization, and surgery.

See the Center for Advanced Reproductive Medicine

Q: Endometriosis

A: Endometrium is the medical term for the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus, the tissue that in normally cycling women builds up and breaks down every month to produce the menstrual period. Endometriosis is a disease of the female pelvic organs, the word endometriosis being derived from the word endometrium.   In the disease state endometriosis, normal endometrium lining tissue is found in abnormal anatomic locations. The cause of endometriosis has not been clearly identified. However, it is thought by many experts that  reverse menstruation, the passage of menstrual blood backwards through the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity, plays a significant role. Many studies have shown that women with endometriosis have accentuated inflammation in the pelvic and lower abdominal areas.  Chronic inflammation can probably cause pain and infertility. Treatment options for endometriosis include surgical removal, hormonal medications that suppress endometriosis growth, medications with intrauterine insemination, and in vitro fertilization.
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Q: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

A: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of chronic menstrual irregularity in reproductive aged women. The signs of PCOS are irregular, infrequent, or absent menstrual periods, increased body hair growth (hirsutism), and obesity. Because most women with PCOS ovulate infrequently or not at all, infertility is frequently a problem also.  Resistance to the action of insulin can accompany PCOS, particularly in overweight women, and this may impair ovulation and ovarian function. A wide variety of treatments are available. Appropriate treatment depends substantially on which symptom --menstrual irregularity, hirsutism, or infertility -- the patient most wants treated.
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Q: Tubal Scarring or Blockage

A: Tubal Scarring or Blockage results in impaired fallopian tube function, and often infertility. Both the sperm and the egg must pass through the fallopian tube in order for fertilization to occur. Injury to the tubes can cause complete tubal blockage, or can limit the mobility of the tube such that it cannot "pick up" or receive the egg from the ovary. Common causes of tubal injury are infection, tubal pregnancy, and previous gynecologic or lower abdominal surgery. The main diagnostic procedures to evaluate scarring are hysterosalpinography (an x-ray utilizing "x-ray dye") and laparoscopy (telescope surgery). Optimum treatment depends on the location and severity of the blockage and scarring; in many cases in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer is necessary.
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Q: In Vitro Fertilization

A: In Vitro Fertilization is the most "high tech" of infertility treatments, and can successfully treat infertility of almost any cause, including cases where simpler treatment measures have failed or do not exist. For in vitro fertilization , the female is monitored with office visits while she  takes  "fertility drugs" to enhance egg development. When egg development is optimum, a needle is passed through the vagina (anesthesia is used) to aspirate the eggs from the ovary.  The eggs are exposed to sperm in the controlled environment of the laboratory.  After a few days of development in the laboratory, the embryos (fertilized eggs) are placed in the uterus through a slender, flexible tube.  Anesthesia in not necessary for this step.  In vitro fertilization is very commonly used to treat all the common causes of infertility, especially tubal damage, endometriosis, and severe male infertility.
For more information about the in vitro fertilization treatment process, click here.

Dr. Burns performs in vitro fertilization procedures at Cabell Huntington Hospital’s Center for Advanced Reproductive Medicine.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine provides additional patient resources at this web site ASRM

Call (304) 691-1400 for an appointment. 

BP1 6902

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William N. Burns, MD, FACOG