If you are just in the beginning stages of the fertility process you are probably at the point where you are trying to figure out what is going on to prevent a pregnancy. One of the first tests that a woman will have done is a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to determine whether or not there are any blockages in the fallopian tubes. Because blocked fallopian tubes account for 20-25% of all female fertility problems it is essential that women start with this test before proceeding with any fertility treatments.
There are many causes of tubal blockages or abnormal fallopian tubes. These causes include adhesions, infections, infectious or non-infectious pelvic inflammatory diseases, scar tissue, endometriosis and damaged tube ends or damaged fimbria. The number one cause of blocked tubes is a Chlamydia infection. Some women have had Chlamydia and not even known it so that the damage has already occurred without a woman even having an idea that any infection was ever there.
A blocked tube hinders a pregnancy by preventing the egg and sperm from meeting. Many times in blocked tubes, an egg will not even be able to get much past the ovary let alone the whole way to the uterus. Blocked tubes also increase your risk of an ectopic pregnancy as the egg can become fertilized in the tube but the embryo can not make it back to the uterus, therefore causing it to implant in the tubes. This is a highly dangerous scenario and can cause infection if the tube bursts.
A blocked tube can also cause fluid to build up in the tube. This fluid can eventually back up into the uterus. When there is fluid in the uterus it impedes implantation of the embryo in the uterine lining. Most clinics will not do an IVF procedure unless a blocked tube is unblocked or removed because of this fluid problem.
A woman with a blocked fallopian tube can have laproscopic surgery to attempt to unblock the tube or remove scar tissue. The less blockage there is, the more successful the surgery. Some blockages are just at one end of the tube and they have the highest success rate of becoming unblocked. If a woman has had a Chlamydia infection, there tends to be more extensive damage and blockages. Blockages due to Chlamydia have the lowest success rate of becoming unblocked.
Whether or not to have the surgery is a personal decision. One thing you must realize is that if you have blocked tubes but opt not to have the surgery to unblock them, then you decrease your chances of getting pregnant significantly and increase your risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
You need to weigh the pros and cons of the surgery along with the long term effects of having it verses not having it. You also can discuss other options with your doctor such as whether or not they will do an IUI or IVF on a patient with a blocked tube. Their answer to this question may also affect your decision. In the end, you have to do what is best for you and your spouse. No one can decide what is best except for you.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 15th, 2006 at 5:17 am and is filed under Fertility. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.