Tubal Factor Infertility

Infertility is sometimes caused by internal damage to the reproductive organs. Many women experience problems with their ovaries or uterus and, as a result, have difficulties conceiving. Fallopian tube damage is one of the most common causes of female infertility. If the fallopian tubes become damaged, it can make it very hard for your egg to pass into the uterus. This can make conception difficult or even impossible. However, there are a number of methods used to test for fallopian tube damage and treatments to restore fertility.

The fallopian tubes are a pair of tubes found in every female mammal. These two tubes sometimes referred to as the oviducts or uterine tubes and are found in the pelvic cavity, running between the uterus and the ovaries. Approximately three to four inches long, the fallopian tubes are not directly attached to the ovaries. Instead, the tubes open up into the peritonial (abdominal) cavity, very close to the ovaries.

Complications Associated with Fallopian Tubes

There are a number of different problems that can develop with the fallopian tubes. These complications include:

  • tubal blockage
  • tubal scarring

Tubal blockage is by far one of the most common fallopian tube complications. Sometimes, one or both tubes become narrow or blocked, preventing eggs from travelling through to the uterus. This can make conception impossible. Tubal scarring can also affect the route that the egg takes through the fallopian tubes.

Causes of Fallopian Tube Damage

Unfortunately, fallopian tube damage is relatively common. It is typically caused by:

  • endometriosis
  • PID, pelvic inflammatory disease
  • surgery
  • ectopic pregnancy

Diagnosing Tubal Factor Infertility

In order to determine the cause of your infertility, your reproductive endocrinologist may perform a series of tests in analyzing your fallopian tubes. Common tests include:

  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): A hysterosalpingogram is a type of x-ray used to determine if your tubes are blocked. Dye is injected into your uterus and through your fallopian tubes.
  • Laparoscopic Surgery: Laparoscopic surgery is sometimes performed in order to diagnose tubal factor infertility. Laparoscopic surgery involves making a small incision in the abdomen. A small camera is then inserted into this incision, allowing your surgeon to view your fallopian tubes.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

IVF is recommended for many women who are suffering from tubal factor infertility. IVF involves fertilizing an egg outside of the fallopian tubes and then implanting the embryo inside the uterus. Pregnancy rates do vary, but IVF can cause pregnancy in up to 65% of couples per cycle.