A large number of women believe that if they’re having regular periods, they don’t have to worry about fertility. However, this isn’t always true.
Every woman has two fallopian tubes, one on each side of the uterus. They’re two thin tubes that help lead the egg from the ovaries to the uterus. The sperm also swims from the cervix to the uterus, and through the fallopian tubes to get to the egg. When the egg is traveling through the tube, fertilization takes place.
In some cases, an obstruction might occur that will prevent the egg from traveling down the tube. This occurrence is called blocked fallopian tubes and they’re the cause of infertility in 40 percent of infertile women.
Two types of blockages can happen. In some cases, only one fallopian tube gets blocked. Women can still get pregnant because an egg can still travel through the unaffected fallopian tube. However, if both tubes are completely blocked, fertility without treatment won’t be possible.
Here are a few ways how to get pregnant with blocked fallopian tubes.
Laparoscopic surgery for blocked fallopian tubes
Your doctor might recommend laparoscopic surgery. There are three reasons for this:
- In some cases, infertility can only be diagnosed through this type of surgery.
- Another reason is that laparoscopic surgery can treat some causes of infertility and allow you to get pregnant naturally, or with the help of treatments.
- The most important reason for your doctor recommending laparoscopic surgery is if you’re experiencing pelvic pain.
During the surgery, the doctor will make a small cut around your belly button and fill your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas. Once there’s room to move around the instruments, the surgeon will place the laparoscope through the cut to look around at your pelvic organs. The doctor will look for cysts, fibroids, scar tissue or adhesions, and endometrial growths.
Sometimes the doctors may decide to make two or even three cuts in your body. This way they’ll be able to use more instruments and temporarily move your organs for a better view.
With the help of laparoscopic surgery, the doctor can open blocked fallopian tubes or remove scar tissue that is causing issues. However, the procedure doesn’t work in 100% of the cases as other factors are at play, including your age, the location of the blockage, and the cause of the blockage.
In a case when an ectopic pregnancy is found, the doctor will remove the abnormal pregnancy. The entire fallopian tube might also be removed.
After the surgery, your doctor will explain your options. If you had your fallopian tube repaired, you may be able to try to get pregnant without any further help.
IVF for blocked fallopian tubes
IVF treatment is your best bet if your doctor discovers:
- male infertility issues
- serious problems with ovulation
- you are in an advanced maternal age
IVF makes getting pregnant possible if repair surgery didn’t work or if it wasn’t an option. During IVF treatment, women with blocked fallopian tubes take fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries. Then, your doctor retrieves the egg from the ovaries, using an ultrasound-guided needle through the vaginal wall.
Once the eggs are retrieved, the doctor puts them together with sperm from your partner or a 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 fallopian tubes and blockages don’t matter.
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Tubal ligation reversal
Tubal ligation reversal is another option for how to get pregnant with blocked fallopian tubes. This is a procedure that can restore fertility after a woman has had her tubes tied.
During the procedure, the blocked segments of the tubes are reconnected to the remainder of the fallopian tubes. After this is done, your 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 if you have a large portion of healthy fallopian 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:
- your age
- body mass index
- the type of tubal ligation
- sperm and egg quality
- the damage to your fallopian tubes
- the length of the remaining tubes
Although it's hard to predict the odds of pregnancy after the procedure, younger women, aged 35 and under, tend to have better success rates.