Hi I’m Dr. John Jain from Santa Monica Fertility, and today I would like to talk to you about tubal factor infertility. This is infertility related to the fallopian tubes.
The fallopian tubes are actually very important for fertility. The fallopian tube picks up the egg from the ovary; it’s in the fallopian tube where the egg is actually fertilized by sperm; it’s in the fallopian tube that the embryo grows for the first 3 days of development. So the fallopian tube nourishes the embryo and helps transport it to the uterus.
If the tube is damaged or blocked it can cause infertility, and also an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies are pregnancies where the embryo gets stuck in the fallopian tube.
The most common causes for blocked tubes or tubal factor infertility are STD’s, such as Gonorrhea and Chlamydia; pelvic surgeries especially ones that involve having fibroids or ovarian cysts removed and a condition called endometriosis. Women who have these risk factors should actually consider having their tubes evaluated using a procedure called an HSG or hysterosalpingogram. In this procedure, a catheter is placed into the cervix and a small balloon is inflated after which x-ray dye is pushed through the uterus and fallopian tube. The x-rays are viewed to make sure the uterine cavity is normal and the tubes open.
If the tubes are actually scarred or blocked, surgery can help in some cases but most of the time it does not help and the patient and in vitro fertilization is needed. With in vitro fertilization, or IVF, eggs are harvested directly from the ovary, fertilized in a laboratory, and then place as embryos directly back into the uterine cavity, this way avoiding the use of the fallopian tubes.
However it should be noted that if the tube is blocked at its end and filled with fluid, a condition called a hydrosalpinx; it has to be removed before in vitro fertilization is performed. The reason is that fluid in the fallopian tube can leak back into the uterine cavity and destroy embryos.
For patients who are infertile and have risk factors for tubal disease it’s very important to access the fallopian tubes early in the process of care.
If you have any further questions about tubal factor infertility please contact me at email@example.com