Tubal Factor Infertility

Definition - What does Tubal Factor Infertility mean?

Tubal factor infertility occurs when one or both fallopian tubes fail to deliver eggs to the uterus. As a result, egg and sperm cannot join within the uterus and conception does not occur. Tubal factor infertility is thought to account for 20-30% of all cases of infertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Tubal Factor Infertility

In order for pregnancy to occur, eggs must travel from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes, ultimately reaching the uterus. If eggs cannot pass from the fallopian tubes into the uterus, the egg may never be reached by sperm. Alternatively, the egg may be fertilized while remaining in the fallopian tube, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy which cannot be carried to term and which may threaten the life of the mother.

Causes of fallopian tube blockages which prevent eggs from reaching the uterus can include past injury, surgery, endometriosis, and certain infections such as chlamydia which can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Any process which causes the formation of scar tissue within the fallopian tubes may prevent eggs from successfully reaching the uterus. Rarely, a naturally occurring congenital malformation may block the passage of eggs through the fallopian tubes.

Tubal factor infertility may be diagnosed through a number of imaging techniques such as a hysterosalpingogram or hysteroscopy. Because fallopian tube problems can be subtle and difficult to detect, infertility with no other identifiable cause may be assumed to be due to fallopian tube blockage.

Because any surgery to the fallopian tubes could cause the creation of more scar tissue, tubal factor infertility is most frequently treated through in vitro fertilization. In this procedure, eggs are removed from the uterus and fertilized through artificial means. The resulting embryos are then implanted in the uterus, bypassing the fallopian tubes altogether.

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