The Fallopian tubes or uterine tubes are located on each side of the uterus. They play a key role in pregnancy as the fusion of the egg and the sperm (fertilization) takes place in the Fallopian tube.
However, blockage in one or both the Fallopian tubes may sometimes lead to infertility. It is estimated that 20 percent of the female infertility cases are because of blocked Fallopian tubes.
A large majority of women is surrounded by a lot of misconceptions about tubal infertility.
Myth #1: Fallopian tubes play no role in pregnancy, so blockage does not matter
Fact: Fallopian tubes not only provides a ground for fertilization to happen between a healthy sperm and an egg, but it also supply nutrients to keep the gametes (sperms and egg) alive until they finally fuse to produce a zygote. The Fallopian tube is lined by a mucosal membrane containing lactic acid, glucose, calcium and sodium that act as nutrients for the released egg and the sperms.
Myth #2: Even one Fallopian tube means that you cannot get pregnant
Fact: Each month, either of the two ovaries releases a mature egg for fertilization. This is the reason why you can still get pregnant, even when there is a blockage in either of the two Fallopian tubes. However, the chances of pregnancy do get lowered to some extent.
This is true for even for females born with just one Fallopian tube. You should have no problem getting pregnant with just one healthy Fallopian tube, both the ovaries and no major problems with ovulation.
Myth #3: Fallopian tubes can only get blocked because of surgical tying or clipping
Fact: There are a number of reasons because of which the Fallopian tubes may get blocked. Some of the reasons include:
Congenital tubal blockage
Adhesion of two damaged surfaces
Intentional surgical clipping
Accidental damage during a surgery
Inflammation of the Fallopian tubes (salpingitis) due to infection
Myth #4: Surgically tied Fallopian tubes remain permanently blocked
Fact: Women who have had their Fallopian tubes tied in the past can undergo tubal litigation reversal procedure to unblock the Fallopian tube passage. During the surgery, the doctors ties back the two ends of the Fallopian tubes that were either clamped or blocked previously.
Myth #5: Surgery is the only option to correct blocked Fallopian tubes
Fact: Women with blocked Fallopian tubes may decide to undergo a minor surgery to remove the adhesion and the scarring causing the problem. However, the Fallopian tubes may remain open for only a small period of time following the surgery before the adhesions are formed again. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the tubal functioning would also be restored on opening the tubal blockage, so there is no test to confirm whether or not the tubes would be working properly after the surgery or be able to pick up the egg on the day of ovulation into the tube.
Myth #6: IVF or Test tube baby cannot help me if my tubes are blocked
Fact: In vitro fertilization (IVF) is another reliable alternate treatment option that such women can undergo. The advantage with IVF is that the procedure totally bypasses the fallopian tubes so whether they are blocked or open but not functioning well, it has no effect on the pregnancy and success rates. In fact, with increasing success rates of IVF per cycle with improvement in technology, IVF is now a preferred option over reopening for tubes by surgery due to its much higher sucesss rates.
Myth #7: Blocked Fallopian tubes may pose no risk to embryo transferred during IVF
Fact: One form of blockage called hydrosalpinx may result when there is an accumulation of clear watery fluid in the Fallopian tubes. The accumulation of the excess fluid takes place at the part of the tube attached to the ovary.
During IVF, a rise in progesterone levels may trigger the Fallopian tubes to relax. As a result, the fluid may drain into the uterus and wash the transferred zygote away. This may result in repeated IVF failure and warrants the need to drain the fluid out before performing the procedure. Only in women with big hydrosalpinges , laparoscopic tubal clipping or tubes removal is required, else there is no indication to do a laparoscopy before the IVF procedure.