Tubal factor infertility is when a woman’s fallopian tube(s) are blocked or damaged which prevents the sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg, or the fertilized egg from reaching the uterus. One or both fallopian tubes may be impacted. In instances of partial blockages, this can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Tubal factor infertility is responsible for 25-35% of infertility cases in women.
Causes of Tubal Factor Infertility
The main causes of tubal factor infertility include:
- Pelvic infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Prior surgeries
- Ruptured appendix
- Certain types of trauma
Many of these conditions can cause scar tissue, which can cause blockages in the fallopian tubes.
Diagnosis of Tubal Factor Infertility
The two key tests used to diagnose tubal factor infertility are:
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): An x-ray procedure in which a harmless dye is introduced into the uterus through the cervix and passed through the fallopian tubes. If the dye is not seen flowing into the fallopian tubes, they may be a blockage.
- Laparoscopy: A minimally invasive procedure in which a laparoscope (a thin tube with a tiny camera and light at the end) is inserted through a small incision below your belly button. Your doctor can look through the laparoscope to see if one or both of your tubes are open by flushing dye through the tubes.
Tubal Factor Infertility Treatment
If your fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged and you have been diagnosed with tubal factor infertility, your CCRM doctor will discuss treatment options with you as well as the pros and cons of each and help you decide what option is best for you.
Treatment options for tubal factor infertility include:
- In vitro fertilization (IVF): During this procedure, sperm and egg are combined in the lab to allow for fertilization outside of the body with subsequent transfer of the embryo back into the uterus.
- Surgery to attempt to open the fallopian tube.
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