The main function of a woman’s fallopian tubes is to capture the egg and foster fertilization. The newly formed embryo then travels through the tube to the uterus, where it will implant as a pregnancy. Because of their essential function in conception, anything that affects the fallopian tubes can also impact fertility.
Tubal factor infertility occurs when a woman’s fallopian tube(s) are blocked due to diseases, damage, or scarring. These obstructions can block sperm from fertilizing the egg or stop the embryo from traveling to the uterus for pregnancy. This condition accounts for 25-35% of female infertility, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Because of their essential function in conception, anything that affects the fallopian tubes can impact fertility. At Vios, we offer effective options to treat tubal factor infertility.
TUBAL FACTOR INFERTILITY EXPERTISE AT VIOS
At Vios Fertility Institute, we offer several effective options to treat infertility in women who have experienced tubal blockage or have been diagnosed with tubal factor infertility. Our team approach is focused on providing customized care with a personalized plan that is best suited for each patient’s emotional, physical, and financial needs. We are dedicated to helping each patient, couple, and family find fertility health while giving you the best chances of success.
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Contact us to begin your personalized care at one of our convenient locations:
- Chicago, West Loop
- Chicago, Wicker Park
- Aurora, IL
- Glenview, IL
- Hoffman Estates, IL
- Swansea, IL
- Milwaukee, WI
- St Louis, MO
- O’Fallon, MO
Causes of Tubal Factor Infertility (TFI)
Tubal blockage can result from a range of causes. For example, pelvic infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can cause the tubes to become obstructed. In addition, scarring caused by endometriosis can cause blockages in the tubes. Patients who have had previous abdominal or pelvic surgeries may also have scarring that affects their tubes.
Additionally, patients have a higher risk of tubal factor infertility if they’ve had a ruptured appendix or certain types of trauma, which may also cause scar tissue that can prevent normal tubal function.
Diagnosing Tubal Factor Infertility
At Vios Fertility Institute, our expert fertility specialists begin your treatment journey by conducting a comprehensive evaluation to determine if part or all of the problem may be related to tubal blockage. We will discuss your medical history with you in detail and recommend ways to assess your tubal function.
Tubal factor infertility (TFI) is typically diagnosed using a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) or a saline sonogram (SIS; also called sonohysterosalpingogram or SHG). For more complicated cases, laparoscopy may be required to diagnose the condition.
- Sonohysterosalpingogram (SHG): Also called a saline sonogram (SIS), this diagnostic test uses ultrasound to monitor the passage of sterile saline and air through the cervix and into the uterus and fallopian tubes.
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): This x-ray procedure involves introducing a harmless dye into the uterus and monitoring whether it flows into the fallopian tubes.
- Laparoscopy: This minimally invasive procedure involves inserting a laparoscope into the abdomen to monitor tubal flow by flushing dye through the tubes.
Even if one or both of the fallopian tubes are open, tubal function may still be abnormal in ways that can impact fertility. For example, when the fallopian tubes remain open but have scarring, they may not be able to serve the necessary functions to enable pregnancy. That’s why it’s important to see a fertility specialist to find out what factors may be impacting your fertility and understanding your treatment options. Contact us to schedule your consultation.
If your fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged, there are several ways to repair a tube as well as other options to resolve infertility with alternative treatments. At Vios, our fertility specialists will collaborate with you to choose the best approach based on your individual needs and family-building goals. Tubal factor infertility treatment options include:
- Surgery: Tubal blockages or scar tissue in or around the tubes can often be removed surgically. Damaged tubes can also sometimes be surgically repaired, depending on the type and extent of damage. Laparoscopic surgery is a common approach to both further evaluate this condition and potentially reopen the tube(s) to allow natural conception.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF): For more severe or complex TFI cases, patients may consider in vitro fertilization (IVF). This fertility treatment involves the removal of eggs from the ovaries, and combines them with sperm for fertilization. Because this procedure places the new embryo(s) directly into the uterus, it can resolve infertility by bypassing the fallopian tubes altogether.
Navigating Treatment Options
At Vios, our compassionate team of fertility specialists will work with you to help you understand treatment options so that you can make an informed decision. Some important clinical factors that will impact treatment choice include the location and extent of tubal damage, your age and ovarian reserve, the number and quality of your partner’s sperm, the presence of other infertility factors, and your risk for other complications. Potential risks associated with tubal surgery include pelvic infection or the formation of additional scar tissue, as well as more serious complications, such as tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. Because we understand the emotional burdens that often accompany these decisions, our team will help you assess how to align these clinical factors with your personal preferences.
When comparing possible treatment paths, we will help you review the risks and benefits of these options. For example, one factor to consider is your personal reproductive timeline. Since surgery involves a short hospital stay and up to 6 weeks of recovery, some patients may become pregnant sooner after IVF than after surgery. Depending on your age and reproductive goals, you may choose to avoid any possible delays and begin an IVF cycle. At Vios, our fertility specialists will help you identify and evaluate all factors that will impact your fertility health and goals to help you make the best choice of treatment.
Affording Treatment and Financial Guidance
For patients who require treatment of tubal factor infertility, understanding both the cost of care and your insurance benefits can be confusing. At Vios Fertility Institute, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to start a family. We offer a variety of affordable care programs to make testing, treatment, and family planning more affordable so you can worry less about cost and focus on your future family. Our financial and insurance counselors will help you assess your coverage and options to help you make informed decisions that best utilize any insurance benefits and exhaust other available support options. Visit our financial FAQs for more details.