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Getting pregnant can be tough no matter what, but for those dealing with blocked Fallopian tubes, the challenges may be a bit more difficult to overcome.
Essentially, Fallopian tubes must be open, have no swelling, and be free of scar tissue to function properly. With at least one tube in a healthy condition, having a natural or IUI-assisted pregnancy is certainly possible. On the other hand, if both tubes are experiencing problems, there are several procedures that can be done to mitigate issues and achieve positive results.
Here's what you need to know about blocked Fallopian tubes and how to increase your chances of starting a family with fertility treatment options:
Blockages can occur in the Fallopian tubes for a number of reasons, but the most common cause is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Typically the result of a sexually transmitted disease, PID is a bacterial infection of the reproductive organs that affects the uterus and Fallopian tubes. The infection may lead to pelvic pain, abscess growth, scarring from adhesions, and may even cause an ectopic pregnancy if left untreated.
Additional causes of blocked Fallopian tubes include an ongoing or past experience of...
There are several ways to test for Fallopian tube blockages that are fairly routine without too much recovery time afterward.
Three main procedures that check for tubal swelling or obstructions are hysterosonograms (HSN), hysterosalpingograms (HSG), and laparoscopy with chromotubation of the tubes.
An HSN is a type of high-resolution ultrasound used with saline solution, rather than dyes and x-rays.
The process is less demanding on the body and offers a clear visual representation of the uterus, allowing a specialist to see any abnormalities within it. However, gaining a thorough look into the Fallopian tubes is somewhat limited.
An HSG provides a more in-depth look into the Fallopian tubes through the use of an iodine liquid filled into the uterus, which is contrasted by an x-ray that shows you how the liquid moves throughout your reproductive system.
This process is fairly quick altogether, typically taking less than 10 minutes, and patients can return home shortly after. With that in mind, it has been known to cause cramping and may be a secondary course of action for those who need further review of their Fallopian tubes.
Being the most demanding procedure of the three, a laparoscopy with chromotubation is an inpatient procedure carried out with general anesthesia.
Two incisions are made, one for a fine telescope (laparoscopy) to be inserted into the abdomen, and another in the pubic region for a small probe to provide an obstructed view of the reproductive organs. Once everything is in place, the chromotubation process (dye test) begins, filling the womb with a light-blue liquid. If the Fallopian tubes are open, then the dye will spill from the ends into the pelvis area, but if nothing comes out, then a blockage is usually the issue.
After this procedure, it takes approximately one week to recover.
Similar to laparoscopy with chromotubation, blockages within the Fallopian tubes can be temporarily fixed with a process called tubal cannulation.
Tubal cannulation uses two types of surgical procedures called hysteroscopy and laparoscopy.
Through a small incision of the abdomen, a narrow tube outfitted with a camera and light source is inserted into the womb. Next, a thin wire (cannula) is guided through the Fallopian tube, creating an opening and clearing blockages. Once complete, a dye is sent through the womb to see if it can pass through the Fallopian tubes without being deterred. It if flows freely, the surgery is a success.
According to research from Saint Mary's Hospital in the UK, 75% of women who undergo tubal cannulation are successful in getting pregnant between 22% and 33% of the time. However, a downside to the procedure is that Fallopian tubes cannot be reopened permanently and may reclose at a later date.
Yes, you can get pregnant naturally or with the assistance of an IUI with one Fallopian tube open. However, if both tubes are blocked, then an in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be required.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) works around blocked Fallopian tubes by developing the embryo outside of the body in a controlled laboratory setting and transferring it to the uterus through a small insemination catheter. Over time, the embryo grows naturally in the same fashion as a traditional pregnancy without relying on the Fallopian tubes to function.
With that in mind, a condition known as hydrosalpinx (swollen tubes) can have an effect on the outcome of an IVF, leading to a 50% reduction of its success. Also, anyone who has had a tubal ligation (tubes tied) may have trouble finding success with an IVF, although a tubal reversal is possible.
In any case, it's always best to consult with a fertility specialist before deciding to undergo any procedures.
At Kofinas Fertility Group, your health is always a priority, and any challenges you may have with blocked Fallopian tubes will be fully assessed to ensure the right course of action that leads to you having the family of your dreams.
Kofinas Fertility Group has opened an ambulatory surgery center at 65 Broadway in Lower Manhattan.
The 10,000-square-foot Manhattan Reproductive Surgery Center will focus on the treatment of endometriosis and uterine fibroids as well as the cryopreservation of ovarian tissue for oncology patients needing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Before the surgery center's opening this week, the fertility group's physicians operated at local hospitals, said founder and Medical Director Dr. George Kofinas. Time constraints from operating outside of its own facility hindered the amount of surgeries its physicians could perform and the amount of time they could spend with patients, he said.
"It was time for us to really build something that would be designed from scratch to cater to those particular patients that need these services that we offer," Kofinas said.
The fertility group has a 16-year lease for its space. That is about the amount of time it takes for surgical facilities to become obsolete, Kofinas said.
"The very first thing we had in mind was accessibility," he added. The Lower Manhattan facility is centrally located for patients from all five boroughs and within blocks of nearly all subway lines as well as the PATH train. The project's cost was in the millions of dollars, he said.
All in-vitro fertilization and fertility-preservation surgeries performed at the center will be covered by commercial health insurance in companies with at least 100 employees, effective in January 2020, the fertility group noted. Expanded coverage is a result of the recently enacted state budget.
Kofinas Fertility Group was founded in 1987 and has locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island. It currently consists of seven physicians. It hired two last year ahead of the center's opening, and an additional two will be added soon, Kofinas said.
The fertility group sees about 10% growth in demand for its services annually, he said. To date, the group's physicians have helped bring more than 25,000 babies into the world.
Originally posted on Crain's New York Business on April 18, 2019.