How Can I Get Pregnant With Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
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:
What Causes Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
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...
- Uterine infections
- STD infections
- Abdominal or pelvic surgeries
How Do You Test for Fallopian Tube Blockages?
There are several ways to test for Fallopian tube blockages that are fairly routine without too much recovery time afterward.
Three minimally invasive 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.
Laparoscopy with Chromotubation
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.
Can Fallopian Tube Blockages Be Removed?
Similar to laparoscopy with chromotubation, blockages within the Fallopian tubes can be temporarily fixed with a process called tubal cannulation.
What is 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.
Can I Still Get Pregnant with Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
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.
How Does an IVF Bypass Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
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.
Kofinas Fertility Group is Here to Help
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.