How to circumvent tubal factor infertility

Infertility can be a daunting challenge for couples wanting to start or expand their families. This condition of the male or female reproductive system is defined as failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Tubal factor infertility, more commonly known as blocked fallopian tubes, is among the most common causes of infertility in women, affecting about 19% of women with primary infertility and 29% of women with secondary infertility, says the American National Library of Medicine.

Fortunately, tubal factor infertility is not the end of the road for couples hoping to start a family, as there are ways to circumvent blocked fallopian tubes through modern medicine and treatments. This article provides insight into some known causes of tubal factor infertility and discusses some ways to bypass this fertility challenges faced by so many women.

Today, thanks to advances in modern medicine, women experiencing tubal factor infertility can still achieve a successful pregnancy. The safest and most successful treatment options include either tubal surgery or in-vitro fertilization, commonly known as IVF. There are also other documented natural means of treatment, for example, quitting smoking; increased consumption of garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and castor oil; yoga or stretching; as well as a fertility massages amongst others, although there is little scientific research into these alternatives.

A more certain solution is to visit a professional and registered fertility clinic such as Medfem Fertility Clinic, where qualified and experienced fertility specialists can determine if your fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged, and perform the best treatment for your specific needs.

Using a pelvic x-ray called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), which involves an injection of dye into the uterine cavity and a simultaneous x-ray of the uterus and tubes, a specialist can detect any problems or issues with the fallopian tubes, such as damage or blockage. Based on the results, and depending on the position and severity of the damage or blockage, the most ideal treatment can be administered.

Why does it occur?

There are a number of known reasons why tubal factor infertility happens, including scarring from infection or previous abdominal or pelvic surgery, especially when the fallopian tubes or ovaries were involved.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is the main cause, resulting in one or more of the upper reproductive organs – like the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries – being infected. PID that goes untreated can result in scar tissue and pockets of infected fluid (abscesses) developing in the reproductive tract, which can cause permanent damage.

Other known causes include fallopian tube damage from the intra-uterine contraceptive device called “loop”, endometriosis, and sexually transmittable diseases such as gonorrhoea, all of which can also lead to infection.

Damaged, blocked or infected fallopian tubes prevent an egg from traveling from the ovaries down the pencil-thin and delicate fallopian tubes, and/or blocks fertilised eggs from reaching the uterus. If an egg implants within the tube, instead of in the uterus, it causes what’s known as an ectopic pregnancy, which can be very dangerous to a woman’s health.

Under normal circumstances, a fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus. With an ectopic pregnancy (also called extrauterine pregnancy), the fertilized egg grows outside the uterus in areas like the fallopian tube, the ovaries, the belly, or the lower part of the cervix. More than 90% of the time, however, the egg attaches itself to the fallopian tube, and this is called a tubal pregnancy. This can result in symptoms like:

* light vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain
* upset stomach and vomiting
* sharp abdominal cramps
* pain on one side of the body
* dizziness or weakness
* pain in the shoulders, necks, or rectum.

Treatment for blocked fallopian tubes

The best-known forms of treatment are tubal surgery and in-vitro fertilization or IVF. During tubal surgery, the fallopian tubes are surgically repaired. During IVF treatment, the fallopian tubes are simply bypassed, with the fertilised egg directly implanted into the uterus.

Both methods are scientifically proven and have millions of documented successful cases. However, these advanced medical procedures must be performed in a safe environment by highly trained professionals.

Tubal surgery

After diagnosing the severity of the blockage or damage, specialists may recommend attempting to fix the blockage through tubal surgery. This involves the repair of the damaged tubes via open surgery or a minimally invasive surgery called a laparoscopy.

Laparoscopy uses a tiny camera to look directly into the abdomen and pelvis, through an incision in the umbilicus. During the operation, patients are under a general anaesthetic. A specialist can usually evaluate and potentially treat gynaecological problems such as scar tissue, adhesions and endometriosis within one day.

In South Africa, Medfem Fertility Clinic is one of the first institutions to have developed a fully comprehensive operating theatre with all the necessary equipment to perform minimally invasive surgery. Medfem’s specialists are experts and leaders in minimally invasive surgery and have all undergone extensive training abroad, and teaches endoscopic surgery on an ongoing basis to visiting gynaecologists.

In-vitro fertilization (IVF)

To completely bypass the fallopian tubes, for example, where damage cannot be repaired, IVF is the widely chosen treatment.

Originally developed in 1983 specifically for women with damaged or missing fallopian tubes, the procedure has successfully assisted over 5 million women to achieve pregnancy. IVF is a safe and trusted treatment, which involves transferring an externally fertilized egg (embryo) directly into the uterus, bypassing the fallopian tubes entirely.

The treatment cycle normally requires a few procedures that are done over five stages, starting with hormone therapy to stimulate the development of several follicles in the ovary. An ultrasound helps guide the process during which the follicles are punctured with a specialized needle to retrieve eggs. The eggs are then fertilized with sperm in the lab to create several embryos. After a five-day incubation period, one or two of these embryos are placed into the uterus of the mother or specified carrier/ surrogate which then begins the pregnancy. The IVF treatment is normally completed over three weeks.

Where to go?

The sensitivity of these procedures cannot be stressed enough, which is why you need to be extra careful when deciding where to go for fertility treatment.

It’s very important to review the medical facility, as well as the level of knowledge and experience that qualifies its specialists. With over 100 years of collective experience and world-renowned fertility professionals, Medfem Fertility Clinic is the perfect partner to help you on your fertility journey.

We offer advanced microsurgical treatments and in vitro fertilization, as well as specialist, proven lifestyle advice, to provide effective treatment for blocked fallopian tubes.

Our specialists are supported by extensively experienced embryologists; trained, qualified theatre staff, nurse practitioners, and clinical psychologists; as well as specialist pharmacists and friendly administration staff, ensuring you receive the best care possible. At Medfem, we believe in helping you reach your family dream through:

* World-Class Fertility for Everyone
* A Positive Fertility Journey
* Delivered With Empathy & Caring

Our team at Medfem Fertility Clinic believes in making world-class fertility treatments available for everyone. It is our joy and commitment to give you a positive outcome on your fertility journey, so you will have a fond memory of feeling empathy, caring, and being part of the Medfem Fertility Clinic family.

If you would like to meet one of our fertility specialists at Medfem Fertility Clinic, simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.

Our Fertility Specialists can also meet with You During a Virtual Consultation Via Zoom or Skype. Click here to book a virtual consultation now.

We look forward to meeting you!


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