But there are two fallopian tubes, so there shouldn’t be a problem, right?
The very presence of the hydrosalpinx can negatively impact fertility. Also, bilateral hydrosalpinx (where both fallopian tubes are blocked) is fairly common.
Which methods are used in the diagnosis of hydrosalpinx?
The most useful method for diagnosis of hydrosalpinx is HSG (hysterosalpingogram). HSG is a type of fluoroscopy (an X-ray performing using a contrast medium). HSG is good at assessing tubal patency (free flow through the fallopian tubes) because the fertility doctor performing the procedure can see the movement of the contrast dye through the tubes. If this flow is impeded, that will show up clearly; ultrasound can be used to make a confirmatory diagnosis and eliminate the chance of a false positive HSG result.
If my fertility doctor diagnoses hydrosalpinx, will having IVF allow me to have a normal pregnancy?
On first glance, it would seem logical that an IVF (in vitro fertilization) procedure would lead to a successful pregnancy, even with hydrosalpinx. After all, if you have IVF, or in vitro fertilization, you are artificially fertilizing the egg, so it shouldn’t matter that the fallopian tubes are blocked because the fertility specialist manually implants the fertilized egg (embryo) directly into the uterus. There’s only one problem with this: the hydrosalpinx fluid (HF) may look like plain old water, but it is toxic and can actually cause a greater-than-50% rate of infertility even with IVF. In other words, just being in the vicinity of the HF may be toxic to the embryo, and it will often result in unsuccessful implantation in the uterus. Because the correlation exists, women with a hydrosalpinx who are trying to conceive should have the problem surgically corrected before they attempt pregnancy (with or without IVF).
Treatment of hydrosalpinx with minimally invasive surgery
Some fertility doctors may repair the hydrosalpinx by making an incision into it, thus reopening the sealed end (this is called salpingostomy); they may also use other procedures such as needle drainage. At SCRC, our fertility specialists prefer to use laparoscopic salpingectomy – the complete removal of the tube – because it provides for permanent correction. Laparoscopic salpingectomy is performed under general anesthesia and the surgery typically takes less than an hour. You should allow about three weeks’ recovery time. Removing the hydrosalpinx often dramatically increases IVF success rates.
How do I find out more about diagnosis and treatment of hydrosalpinx?
Schedule a consultation with one of our experts today!