Tubal Factor Infertility is when the fallopian tube(s) get blocked and it prevents the sperm from going to the ovary to fertilize an egg or the fertilized egg from reaching the uterus for pregnancy. Because the fallopian tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus, either one or both of them may get affected. In the case of partial blockage, the risk of ectopic pregnancy is more.
In a normal pregnancy, an ovary releases an egg into the fallopian tube where it attaches to a sperm that fertilizes the egg. This fertilized egg further travels to the uterus where it attaches to the uterine lining for nine months.
In the event of a damaged, blocked, or misshapen fallopian tube, a sperm, and an egg cannot meet which results in infertility. A blockage may also be small enough to allow the sperm in, but not to let the embryo to get to the uterus.
Causes of Tubal Factor Infertility:
- An infection.
- Endometriosis is a disease in which the tissue that usually lines the uterus grows outside the uterus.
- Pelvic infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs.
- Ruptured appendix.
- Prior surgeries.
- Certain types of trauma.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Tubal Factor Infertility:
The primary symptom is the inability to become pregnant. A lot of women know that their fallopian tube is damaged only when they consult with their doctor for infertility. Further, when infertility includes signs of a PID, it may be a sign of tubal infertility.
The two main tests that are used to diagnose this condition are laparoscopy and hysterosalpingogram.
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure which involves performing a small incision right below the belly button with the help of a laparoscope. This helps the doctor get a clear view of the fallopian tubes.
The laparoscope determines if there is any blockage in the tubes or if there are other issues such as scar tissue adhesions. Oasis Fertility Center contains a laparoscopy department which will help determine the exact cause with its precise equipment and its experienced doctors will help treat your infertility conditions.
Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an X-ray performed to see if the fallopian tubes are open. This is done with the help of a dye which is passed through the cervix into the uterus through the fallopian tubes. However, the tubes being open does not mean that they are functioning normally. There might be extreme scarring or blockage inside the lining of the fallopian tube, which cannot be detected with this test.
Treatment of Tubal Factor Infertility:
Tubal Factor Infertility can be treated either with surgical or non-surgical procedures for repairing the damaged tube or tubes. In the event, these treatments fail, Oasis Fertility Center also offers IVF treatments which can be done to achieve pregnancy.
Some of the ways in which the fallopian tube can be repaired are:
- Tubal cannulation which involves inserting a catheter attached to a wire and attached to a balloon into the fallopian tubes to unblock them. This test is to be done only if an imaging test shows a proximal blockage in one or both fallopian tubes.
- Salpingectomy is a surgical procedure done to remove the damaged or diseased fallopian tube.
- Salpingostomy is a surgical procedure that involves creating an opening into the fallopian tube to remove an ectopic pregnancy.
- Fimbrioplasty is a laparoscopic procedure that repairs the fimbriae, which are finger-like ends of the fallopian tube, by sewing them back together. This treatment option is a viable option only for patients with minimal distal tubal blockage.
IVF has become the most popular treatment for tubal factor infertility because of the improvement in the success rates. The physician will avoid surgery and the problem of tubal damage altogether instead of making an attempt to repair the damaged tubes. The success rates of IVF for tubal factor infertility are generally good in women below the age of 39 as these women are very less likely to have other infertility issues.