If you have ovaries and are experiencing infertility, you may receive a diagnosis of tubal infertility. Here’s what that means.
When an egg is ovulated, it is swept into the fallopian tube by tiny finger-like protrusions. Tiny hair-like structures along with muscle contractions inside the tube help move the egg along so it can travel towards and into the uterus. Tubal factor infertility is when there is a blockage or damage to one or both fallopian tubes which prevents the egg from reaching the sperm or uterus.
If you’re with a fertility clinic, they will often screen for tubal issues by doing a test called a hysterosalpingogram. This is where a dye is injected into the uterus and an x-ray is used to see if the dye flows into the tubes, indicating that the tubes are open and not blocked.
What causes tubal infertility?
The blockage can occur from the inside (like from previous uterine infections) or from the outside of the fallopian tubes (like inflammation in the pelvis from endometriosis or surgeries).
What is the typical treatment for those with tubal infertility who wish to conceive?
If both tubes are affected, then IVF is recommended to bypass the tubes, as it allows sperm and egg to fertilize in the IVF lab.
If only one tube is affected, a common fertility treatment is ovarian stimulation to try to release more eggs (to increase the chances that one of the ovulated eggs make it to the open tube). If sperm quality is a concern, then this is commonly done along with IUI.