Is Something Blocking Your Fertility?
An infertility diagnosis is typically made when a couple tries to get pregnant naturally without success for at least 6 months. There are many causes of infertility, but for some women, the issue could be blocked fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes are a pair of channels located on each side of the uterus. These tubes are connected to the ovaries and move a fertilized egg to the uterus. When there is an obstruction, women can struggle to become pregnant. Blocked tubes can result in a feeling of hopelessness, but there are ways to overcome the issue and get pregnant. The key is understanding the condition’s cause and how solutions like in vitro fertilization (IVF) can help.
Understanding fallopian tube blockages
An obstruction in the tubes can block the egg from traveling to the uterus to grow and develop into a fetus. There are a few causes of blocked fallopian tubes. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is the most common reason. The condition is an infection of the reproductive organs that leads to fallopian tube scarring. Past miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy, or past surgery are other causes. Endometriosis, fibroids, and cysts can also disrupt fallopian tube function. Blocked fallopian tubes show no symptoms and are usually only discovered when there is trouble getting pregnant. In cases of PID, endometriosis, or fibroids, some women will experience mild abdominal pain.
A doctor or reproductive health specialist must first confirm blocked fallopian tubes. An ultrasound may not always reveal the condition, so the doctor will use hysterosalpingography (HSG), a special x-ray. The HSG examination involves injecting a special contact dye into the uterus and through the fallopian tubes. The dye allows any blockages to appear on the x-ray. Studies also suggest HSG doubles as tubal flushing, potentially improving pregnancy outcomes. If HSG fails to present conclusive results, a laparoscopic procedure is also available. A small scope with a camera and light can help identify the damaged tubes. Another surgical tool can help remove blockages or repair the fallopian tubes. This process may also improve the chances of a natural pregnancy.
The power of IVF
If blocked tubes are not fixed with HSG or laparoscopy, in vitro fertilization is another viable solution. IVF is the gold standard of assisted reproductive technology (ART), a series of techniques to bypass infertility. With IVF, the patient must take hormone medication to increase egg production. The fertility clinic will extract multiple eggs directly from the ovaries. The eggs are then combined with a sperm sample to create embryos. A healthy embryo is then transferred directly to the uterus, bypassing the need for fallopian tubes.
What do the numbers say?
In vitro fertilization is a very effective way to achieve pregnancy with severely damaged or blocked fallopian tubes. On average, IVF has a 50% success rate for women 35 and under. These statistics increase with every IVF cycle attempted. There are additional steps that can improve the chances of pregnancy, like genetic testing or delayed embryo transfers. Genetic testing can look for any possible abnormalities leading to a failed pregnancy. Only the most viable eggs are transferred or frozen for future use. Delaying transfer allows the embryo to reach the blastocyst stage, increasing pregnancy rates further.
Unblock fertility woes with IVF
A damaged or blocked fallopian tube can prevent pregnancy, leading to infertility. This issue can be emotionally challenging for couples eager to start or grow a family. The first step is to see a specialist for a full evaluation. If a blocked tube is discovered, all hope is not lost. There are treatment options, like IVF, that can help couples conceive despite the damage to the organ. A fertility clinic is equipped with multiple techniques that increase the chances of success.