Blocked fallopian tubes
Tubal disease occurs when the fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged. This prevents the egg from travelling down the fallopian tube to meet and be fertilised by the sperm. Tubal disease accounts for around 20% of female infertility, but fortunately it can be treated with IVF. This bypasses the fallopian tubes by collecting eggs directly from the ovaries, fertilising them outside the body and placing them into the womb.
Causes of tubal disease
Many cases of tubal disease are caused by infection such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), appendicitis and peritonitis. Other causes of tubal disease are endometriosis and adhesions, which may separate the fallopian tube from the ovary. Occasionally scarring from surgery can damage fallopian tubes, or they are removed due to ectopic pregnancy or another reason. In some cases, the fallopian tube has been deliberately severed for contraceptive reasons, or a woman may simply have been born without fallopian tubes.
Why tubal disease causes infertility
When the egg is released from the ovary, it travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus, where it combines with the sperm. If the fallopian tube is blocked or absent then the egg is unable to travel to the uterus and therefore cannot be fertilised.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Some women with blocked/damaged tubes experience symptoms while others do not. Possible symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, unusual vaginal discharge and pain when menstruating/urinating/having sex. Tubal patency can be tested with hysterosalpingogram, or HyCoSy, when dye is injected into the uterus and tracked as it enters the fallopian tubes. This is sometimes provided on the NHS, and we also offer this service at our clinic.
Choosing the right treatment for you
The most common treatment for tubal disease is in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) where the eggs are removed from the ovaries and fertilised outside the body. IVF is the fertility treatment we offer for patients with tubal disease, as the eggs need to be removed from the ovaries in order to be fertilised. We tailor treatment to your individual circumstances. All of our treatments work on the basis that administering the fewest drugs possible will ensure good health for the woman, the eggs and the baby. These protocols therefore use very few or no stimulating drugs, and use the principle of natural selection to collect the highest quality eggs. This has the added bonus of reducing side effects and ensuring a healthy bodily environment for implantation. The treatment that’s right for you depends upon various factors such as your age and ovarian reserve. One of our doctors will be able to advise you on the best treatment option and devise a tailor-made treatment plan on the basis of a scan and your medical history.
The success of the cycle depends on a number of factors, primarily your egg reserve, which can be determined with a scan. One of our doctors will be able to give you a personalised prognosis following this. CREATE has consistently excellent success rates. For more information please visit our Success Rates page.