1. Getting pregnant
  2. Trouble conceiving
  3. Alternative therapies

Flo Fact-Checking Standards

Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

How to Get Pregnant with Blocked Uterine Tubes: 3 Medical Solutions

Learn how to get pregnant if you have blocked uterine tubes — Flo experts will tell you everything about the treatment of blocked tubes available today.

Many people believe that if they have regular periods, they don’t have to worry about fertility. However, this isn’t always true. 

The female body normally has two uterine tubes, one on each side of the uterus. These thin tubes help lead the egg from the ovaries to the uterus. Sperm swims from the cervix to the uterus and through the uterine tubes to get to the egg. When the egg is traveling through the tube, fertilization can take place. 

Your personalized journey to motherhood

Unlock your personalized program to get the best guidance on your journey to motherhood with Flo Premium

In some cases, an obstruction occurs that prevents the egg from traveling down the tube, called a blocked uterine tube. Tubal blockage is one of the most common identifiable female factors of infertility, along with ovulatory disorders, endometriosis, and pelvic adhesions. Tubal blockage is responsible for 25–30 percent of infertility cases.

The primary cause of tubal blockage is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is often caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) like chlamydia or gonorrhea. Other conditions that may prevent normal transport of the egg and sperm through the uterine tube are endometriosis, adhesions in the pelvis from previous surgery, or a non-tubal infection like appendicitis, pelvic tuberculosis, and salpingitis isthmica nodosa (or SIN, scarring of the tube). 

Tubal obstruction can involve the distal, proximal, or entire tubal segment and can be partial or complete. Distal tubal obstruction is much more common than proximal obstruction and makes up about 70 percent of cases. With this type of blockage, the tube is obstructed at the end near the ovary. It can be caused by hydrosalpinges (a blocked tube that fills with liquid), pelvic adhesions, or fusion of the fimbriae (the finger-like structures at the end of the tube that connect it to the ovary). 

Proximal tubal obstruction is most commonly caused by infection, endometriosis, tumors, salpingitis isthmica nodosa, or dried mucus. In some cases, only one uterine tube gets blocked. People with one blocked tube can still get pregnant because an egg can still travel through the unaffected tube. However, if both tubes are completely blocked, pregnancy won’t be possible without intervention. 

To diagnose tubal blockage, your health care provider can perform procedures that may include: 

  • Hysterosalpingography (HSG) — Liquid dye that can be seen on an x-ray is injected through a catheter and fills the uterus and uterine tubes, so x-ray scans can be taken. 
  • Chromopertubation — Dye is injected into the uterine tubes during laparoscopy.
  • Sonohysterography — Ultrasonography is used to visualize the uterus and adnexa after an infusion of fluid through a transcervical catheter.

Here are a few ways to get pregnant with blocked uterine tubes.

Your health care provider might recommend laparoscopic surgery. There are three common reasons it’s recommended:

  1. In some cases, infertility can only be diagnosed through this type of surgery.
  2. It can treat some causes of infertility and allow you to get pregnant naturally or with treatment. 
  3. Laparoscopic surgery might be recommended if you’re experiencing pelvic pain

During the surgery, the provider makes a small cut around the belly button and fills the abdomen with carbon dioxide gas. Once there is enough room in the abdomen to use surgical instruments, the laparoscope is passed through the incision to look around at the pelvic organs. They will look for cysts, hydrosalpinges, fibroids, scar tissue, pelvic adhesions, and endometrial growths. 

Sometimes, it may be necessary to make two or three incisions in the body. This makes it possible to use more instruments and temporarily move the organs for a better view.

During laparoscopic surgery, they can try to open blocked uterine tubes or remove scar tissue that is causing issues. However, the procedure isn’t always successful, as other factors are at play, including age, location of the blockage, and the cause of the blockage. 

If an ectopic pregnancy is found, the abnormal pregnancy will be removed. It may also be necessary to remove the entire uterine tube. 

After the surgery, your health care provider will explain your options. If your uterine tube was repaired, you may be able to try to get pregnant without any further treatment.

IVF treatment is your best bet for pregnancy if your health care provider discovers:

  • Absent or blocked uterine tubes
  • Severe male factor infertility 
  • Serious problems with ovulation
  • Advanced maternal age 
  • Uterine factor infertility ( e.g., irreparable scar tissue of the uterine cavity)
  • Diminished ovarian reserve
  • Any other cause of infertility (e.g., endometriosis, ovulation disorders, unexplained infertility), if treatment with other therapies is not effective

IVF makes getting pregnant possible if repair surgery didn’t work or if it wasn’t an option. During IVF treatment, a person with blocked tubes takes fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries. Then, a procedure retrieves the egg from the ovaries using an ultrasound-guided needle through the vaginal wall. 

Once the eggs are retrieved, they are combined with sperm from a partner or sperm donor. One or two healthy embryos are then transferred to the uterus. The good thing about IVF treatment is that it completely avoids the blocked uterine tubes, so the blockages don’t matter. 

Tubal ligation reversal is another option for getting pregnant with blocked uterine tubes. This is a procedure that can restore fertility for someone who has had their tubes tied.

During the procedure, the blocked segments of the tubes are reconnected to the remainder of the uterine tubes. After this is done, the eggs can again move freely through the tubes, and sperm can travel up the tubes to join an egg. 

The chances for success are greater for people who have a large portion of healthy uterine tube remaining. Although a tubal ligation reversal may allow you to get pregnant without further treatment, it’s not recommended for everyone. There are several factors that your doctor must take into consideration, including:

  • Age
  • Body mass index
  • Type of tubal ligation
  • Sperm and egg quality
  • Damage to the uterine tubes
  • The length of the remaining tubes

Although it's hard to predict the odds of pregnancy after the procedure, people under 35 tend to have better success rates.

https://flo.health/pregnancy/pregnancy-health/complications/6-ectopic-pregnancy-symptoms

https://flo.health/getting-pregnant/trouble-conceiving/fertility-problems/fallopian-tube-problems-blockage-salpingitis-hydrosalpinx

https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/sex/birth-control/tubal-ligation

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/causes-of-female-infertility?topicRef=5445&source=see_link
https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/275463-overview#a6

https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Gynecologic-Practice/Infertility-Workup-for-the-Womens-Health-Specialist?IsMobileSet=false

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/reproductive-surgery-for-female-infertility?sectionName=SALPINGECTOMY%20BEFORE%20IN%20VITRO%20FERTILIZATION&topicRef=5408&anchor=H11&source=see_link#H11

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/tubal-ligation-reversal/about/pac-20395158

Read this next