Family Planning With Tubal Factor Infertility: IVF Treatment For Fallopian Tube Obstruction

Family Planning With Tubal Factor Infertility: IVF Treatment For Fallopian Tube Obstruction

Tubal Factor Infertility And IVF

Difficulty conceiving is more common than many think, with roughly 9% of men and 11% of women in the US experiencing infertility. In some instances, no known cause can be found, and the individual is said to have unexplained infertility. However, for other people, underlying health conditions or physical impediments can make natural conception difficult or impossible. For some women, a fallopian tube obstruction can prevent pregnancy from occurring.

Family Planning With Tubal Factor Infertility: IVF Treatment For Fallopian Tube Obstruction

Obstructed tube

A fallopian tube obstruction is a condition where a physical blockage is present in the tube. Whether from fluid, scar tissue, a sexually transmitted infection (STI), or endometriosis, the concern is the same. Natural conception begins in the fallopian tubes as this location is typically where sperm encounter and fertilize the egg released each month. Eventually, the embryo travels from the tube to the uterus, where implantation occurs, and pregnancy ensues.

Ectopic concerns

Having an obstruction in the fallopian tubes can be dangerous. While most women’s concerns center around not being able to conceive naturally, a more significant health risk exists. Women with obstructions in the fallopian tubes have an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy. With this type of conception, the embryo implants into the fallopian tube tissue instead of the uterus. Left untreated, an ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening.

Tubal surgery

For some women, tubal surgery is an excellent way to correct an obstructed fallopian tube. Various procedures, such as a laparoscopy or laparotomy, may be used to perform the surgery. Regardless of the method, the goal is to clear the blockage by removing scar tissue, opening the tube from the inside, or creating a new opening close to the ovary to bypass the blockage. However, conception odds post-surgery depend on various factors, such as the severity of the blockage, a woman’s age, and the quality of the sperm used.

Moving forward with IVF

Women with badly damaged fallopian tubes may find that in vitro fertilization (IVF) is the best option to conceive. Since IVF relies on collecting eggs directly from the ovaries and transferring viable embryos into the uterus, the fallopian tubes are essentially bypassed and much less of a concern. However, women with a specific blockage known as hydrosalpinx may still experience lower IVF success rates. Hydrosalpinx causes fluid to build up in the fallopian tubes. Over time the fluid drips into the uterus and can interfere with building up the endometrial lining, which must reach a certain thickness for implantation to occur.

Understand the facts

Having a fallopian tube obstruction doesn’t mean a woman can’t ever conceive. However, trying for a baby naturally may not always be possible. Depending on the extent of the damage to a woman’s tubes, surgery and IVF are both viable options to clear or bypass the blockage and achieve pregnancy. A fertility specialist can advise on the best procedure for each patient.

Go to Top