In vitro fertilization, commonly called IVF, is an advanced fertility treatment that has made it possible for many couples who have had difficulty conceiving to achieve their dreams of parenthood.
Infertility is complex, with many possible factors, such as blocked fallopian tubes. At the Centre for Reproductive Medicine, Dr. Janelle Dorsett uses advanced diagnostic techniques to identify fertility issues, including the causes of blocked fallopian tubes, during patient consultations at her Lubbock, TX practice.
If you and your partner have had difficulty conceiving and would like more information about fertility treatments, we welcome you to schedule a consultation.
Understanding the Role of Fallopian Tubes and How Blockage Affects Fertility
Properly functioning fallopian tubes are a key component of conception. During conception, a fallopian tube will pick up a mature egg released by an ovary. Sperm then enters the uterus through the cervix where it will continue to the fallopian tube and fertilize the waiting egg. The fertilized egg then travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus where it will implant, resulting in pregnancy.
When a blockage is present in the fallopian tubes, it makes conception difficult or impossible by preventing sperm from reaching a mature egg or preventing a fertilized egg from reaching the uterus.
What Causes Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
Now that we've briefly considered the role of the fallopian tubes and how blockage can lead to infertility, let's take a closer look at the possible causes of fallopian tube blockage.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Infection is a common cause of blocked fallopian tubes. Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is a leading cause of fallopian tube infection.
PID is an infection of the uterus or fallopian tubes that is contracted when sexually transmitted bacteria, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, spread from the vagina to the uterus and fallopian tubes.
Infections can cause the tissues of the fallopian tubes to swell, sometimes causing blockage. If left untreated, scar tissue may develop within the fallopian tubes, causing further blockage.
Scar tissue can create a physical barrier within the fallopian tubes, preventing eggs and sperm from moving freely within the reproductive system.
Scar tissue may develop as a complication of PVD and infection but may also occur as a result of a previous abdominal or pelvic surgery. One common surgical cause of scar tissue in the fallopian tubes is surgery for ectopic pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy is a condition in which a fertilized egg develops within the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. Surgery often needs to be performed to remove the embryo because ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening.
Some women choose to have their fallopian tubes blocked to prevent future pregnancy through a tubal ligation. Although many women who elect to have a tubal ligation feel certain they are done having children or never want children, a change of heart is not unheard of and conceiving another child can be possible through IVF or tubal ligation reversal.
It is possible for a woman to be born with one or both fallopian tubes blocked. Although rare, such congenital blockages can cause infertility or make conceiving more difficult.
Blocked fallopian tubes may also be caused by a condition called hydrosalpinx. Hydrosalpinx is a condition in which fluid collects within the fallopian tube.
Hydrosalpinx is most commonly caused by infection or injury to the fallopian tubes. Some other conditions that can cause hydrosalpinx are endometriosis and prior surgery.
IVF Can Help Overcome Blocked Fallopian Tubes
IVF has helped many women with blocked fallopian tubes successfully conceive. To find out if IVF is right for you, please call (806) 788-1212 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Dorsett.