Fallopian Tubes And Fertility

For people not well versed in female anatomy, the fallopian tubes can be one of the lesser understood parts of the female reproductive system. The tubes serve as a gateway where eggs travel from the ovaries to the uterus. Often conception begins in the fallopian tubes, where a sperm and egg meet before the fertilized egg travels to the uterus for implantation. But not every woman has two working fallopian tubes. And a common question for this demographic centers around whether fertility treatments are necessary to conceive successfully.

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Reasons for only one tube

There are a variety of reasons for why a woman may only have one working fallopian tube. Common causes can include removal because of a pelvic surgery or injury caused by an infection, tumor, or even a previous ectopic pregnancy. And in some cases, women are born with only one tube.

Is fertility treatment required to conceive?

The answer depends on other health factors. In particular, women who have at least one functioning ovary, have monthly menstrual cycles, and also ovulate regularly can still potentially conceive naturally and may not need fertility treatments.

When fertility treatment is necessary

If a woman is concerned that one fallopian tube might impact conception success, speaking with a healthcare provider to schedule an exam is a good idea. A fertility specialist will need to determine that no other underlying fertility issues exist, such as poor sperm or egg quality or issues with ovulation. If a healthcare provider determines that other conditions might also impact the chances of natural conception, fertility treatments might be the most viable option for conception. Several methods may be used, including hormone therapy to boost ovulation or artificial insemination to aid in conception.

Will in vitro fertilization work?

If the concern is that an egg or sperm will have difficulty traveling through the fallopian tube, in vitro fertilization (IVF) might be the best choice. The procedure completely bypasses the need for the fallopian tubes by harvesting eggs directly from the ovaries along with a man’s sperm and fertilizing the eggs outside of a woman’s body. The fertilized egg, known as an embryo, is then implanted into a woman’s uterus. However, keep in mind that the success for IVF varies widely and is often dependent upon the age of the woman. Women under 35 have the highest success rates with IVF at 41-43%. In contrast, women over 40 have significantly lower success rates at just 13-18%.

Conception is possible

Having only one working fallopian tube isn’t a sign that a woman will struggle to conceive. In many cases, women don’t even know that one fallopian tube isn’t working because the condition can be asymptomatic. In some cases, the working fallopian tube can migrate to pick up an egg released from the opposite ovary. If a woman knows that there is only one fallopian tube, panicking is unnecessary. However, if fertility treatment is necessary, IVF might be the best way to avoid any complications with to the fallopian tube. For more information, speak with a fertility specialist.

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