There are two tiny tubes called fallopian tubes on either side of the uterus. These tubes are responsible for transporting a mature egg from the ovaries to the uterus. The fallopian tube is where the egg is fertilized and the resulting embryo then travels into the uterine cavity where it implants. If the fallopian tubes are injured or blocked, the chances of conceiving are greatly diminished.
An ectopic pregnancy ensues when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, most often in one of the fallopian tubes. These pregnancies are not viable and may result in a life threatening situation.
What causes fallopian tubes to become obstructed or damaged
The fallopian tubes are easily injured or blocked due to their small diameter and delicate structure. The most common causes of tubal occlusion are listed below.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
STD infections such as chlamydia
Prior ectopic pregnancy
Tubal ligation or any tubal surgery
Abdominal or pelvic surgeries
How to Get pregnant when both fallopian tubes are blocked?
Many treatment options are available to help you conceive when both fallopian tubes are blocked. The most effective treatments include:
Laparoscopic surgery can be attempted to unblock fallopian tubes or remove scar tissue in some situations. The likelihood of success is determined by your age (the younger, the better), the severity and location of the blockage, and the reason for the obstruction. If there are only a few thin adhesions between the tubes and the ovaries, the odds of getting pregnant following surgery are good.
Hysteroscopic tubal cannulation
A hysteroscopy is where a lighted camera is inserted into the uterus while filling the uterus with sterile saline. A tubal cannulation is where a very tiny catheter is inserted into the fallopian tube opening through the hysteroscope. Once the catheter is in the tube, a contrast can be injected while taking an x-ray to ensure the tubes have been successfully opened.
Tubal Ligation Reversal
"Getting your tubes tied" is a common term for tubal ligation surgery, which is a surgical and permanent method of birth control. Often depending on the technique used for this procedure, it cannot be reversed. Some patients may have had a this procedure in which a more reversible technique like “clips” was used. Tubal ligation reversals can be temporarily successful but then scar tissue can reform blocking the tubes again. Tubal ligation reversals place a patient at significantly greater risk of an ectopic pregnancy so it it important to be monitored for this early on when you conceive after this surgery. Tubal ligation reversals are performed less frequently today due to the much higher success rates with IVF.
When both fallopian tubes are blocked, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) allows a patient to conceive by bypassing the fallopian tubes altogether. In IVF, the ovaries are first stimulated and then the eggs are retrieved under anesthesia. The retrieved eggs are then inseminated under a microscope to make embryos and 1-2 embryos are placed back into the uterus.
If you or anyone you know have blocked fallopian tubes and wants to conceive, Audubon Fertility offers highly successful treatment options for you. To learn more, book an appointment now by calling 504-475-1458.