For several prospective parents who are hoping to make their way into parenthood, the challenges and hurdles of having a child can only be overcome with the help of cutting edge procedures such as in vitro fertilization.
Among the many conditions that require IVF intervention, a common one is due to a blockage in the woman’s fallopian tubes. As a matter of fact, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine states that almost 25% to 35% of women experience infertility as a result of tubal blockage factors.
Not only does it make conceiving a child with this condition nearly impossible, but it can also be potentially dangerous for the woman involved.
Let’s devote some time to understand the condition better and how an in vitro fertilization process can help a couple in this situation.
What is Fallopian Tube Obstruction?
The uterus is connected to each ovary via these delicate hollow tissues known as fallopian tubes. Every time an egg is released from the ovary, it reaches the uterus by traveling through the fallopian tubes. If there is the presence of sperm in the uterus, it swims up the fallopian tubes to reach the egg. Therefore, the actual process of fertilization takes place in the fallopian tubes.
In the event of tubal blockage, while the ovaries still release the eggs, the sperm is unable to swim towards any viable eggs to continue with the fertilization process. However, in the rarest of cases that the sperm does manage to reach the egg, the fertilized egg will, in the majority of instances, not be able to leave the fallopian tube in order to implant in the uterus. If implantation does occur inside the fallopian tube, it may result in an ectopic pregnancy which can be potentially fatal for the woman.
Hence, it is fair to say that conceiving a healthy fetus is next to impossible if there is blockage or obstruction in one or both of the fallopian tubes.
What Are the Causes of Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
There can be multiple causes that can lead to tubal blockage. These include:
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Prior Ectopic Pregnancy
- Prior Abdominal or Pelvic Surgery
- Certain Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- Tubal Ligation
What Is the Effect of Tubal Blockage on Fertility?
Even though the egg and the sperm are able to meet, and the process of fertilization can take place, the obstructed fallopian tubes prevent them from joining. Therefore, obstruction or blockage in the fallopian tubes is a common cause of infertility.
In the event that there is a full obstruction in both the tubes, achieving pregnancy without any treatment is next to impossible. However, if there is partial blockage, there is some chance of getting pregnant. Having said that, there is a greater risk of it being an ectopic pregnancy as opposed to a normal one as the scenario where the fertilized egg is able to move to the uterus via a blocked tube is rare.
However, if the blockage exists in one fallopian tube, in most cases, it will not impact fertility as the egg will still be able to travel towards the uterus via the unblocked one. You can also consult with your fertility specialist to boost your chance of ovulating on the side with the unblocked fallopian tube with the help of fertility drugs.
How Can You Get Pregnant with Blocked Fallopian Tubes with IVF?
Pregnancy with blocked fallopian tubes is not absolutely out of the equation. The method of treatment and the severity of obstruction will be able to determine if you can get pregnant or not.
The rate of successful conception is higher in instances where tubal blockage exists near the uterus. On the other hand, the success rates are lower in cases where the fallopian tube obstruction is near the ovary or at the end of the tube.
In the event where the fallopian tubes have experienced damage due to ectopic pregnancy or infection, the chance of getting pregnant despite surgery is minimal. A lot depends on which part of the tube and how much of it will have to be removed.
IVF has been the gamechanger for women experiencing infertility as a result of tubal blockage. The fertility specialist is able to retrieve the eggs, fertilize them with the sperm under laboratory conditions and then implant the embryos directly in the uterus, thus circumventing the fallopian tubes completely.
What Happens During IVF?
The fertility specialist retrieves all the viable eggs from the woman’s body during the IVF procedure. The patient is constantly monitored, undergoes testing, goes through ovarian stimulation and cycle synchronization before the actual retrieval process takes place.
The retrieved eggs are fertilized with the sperm in a laboratory environment under the supervision of the clinician in charge and the fertility expert. When the eggs are ready, the fertility specialist selects the best embryos and transfers them to the woman’s uterus.
How Successful is IVF with Blocked Fallopian Tubes?
WebMD states that the average success rate for achieving pregnancy for instances of blocked fallopian tubes via IVF treatment is around 27%. The success rate increases in patients below the age of 35 years. The actual outcome will differ from patient to patient.
If you are experiencing infertility issues and wish to find out if IVF is the right treatment option for your needs, feel free to schedule an appointment with Dr Vyjayanthi, Clinician in Charge at MotherToBe, a top fertility centre in Hyderabad. During the consultation, we will discuss your personal struggles with getting pregnant whilst evaluating you as a candidate for fertility treatment.
If you live in and around Hyderabad and are keen to know more about IVF treatments, be sure to contact MotherToBe’s team of fertility specialists who can ensure that your dream of starting your family can soon become a reality.
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