Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hydrosalpinges and Miscarriages

I am 34 years old, writing from Australia. I have had one child (3 years old) and two miscarriages. The first miscarriage (embryo stopped growing 6.5 weeks) on Jan. 09, the second Nov. 09 (9.5 weeks). Just before I became pregnant with the most recent one, I found out I had bilateral hydrosalpinges that showed up on the transvaginal ultrasound.

We were considering having surgery to remove the fallopian tubes ( on the advice of an IVF specialist) then start IVF, when suddenly we found out we were pregnant. Unfortunately, at 9.5 weeks I had a miscarriage.

We are awaiting results of tissue testing to determine if chromosomal abnormality exists. We are also booked in for a repeat ultrasound.

1. Does having bilateral hydrosalpinges cause you to miscarry at 10 weeks pregnant? If so, by how much (i.e. what %)? Gyn says they do not make you miscarry but more likely to not allow implantation.

2. Would the preferred option be to clip them, or just remove them and commence IVF even though I have gotten pregnant naturally? Or would the best option be to give it one more go naturally?

Any other advice would be appreciated.



You present a very interesting scenario because women with hydrosalpinges usually cannot get pregnant. The reason is because the cause of the hydrosalpinges is a tubal infection that caused the damage to the tubes. Not only did it cause the tube to be obstructed, but it even usually leads to damage of the inner lining of the tube that is important for egg and sperm transport. Therefore the recommendation is to proceed with IVF. Your case negates that thinking.

Hydrosalpinges can lead to non-implantation, and by the same mechanism, miscarriage. It is thought that the hydrosalpinx has inflammatory fluid within that migrates back into the uterus. Several studies have found decreased pregnancy rates in IVF when hydrosalpinges are present. That is why it is recommended to clip the tubes or remove them prior to IVF. This inflammatory fluid causes a mild inflammation of the uterine lining causing the lack of implantation. If implantation were to occur, I would expect that the same inflammation could lead to the death of the embryo from a mild amnionitis. That, however, is theoretical.

Because you have shown that you are the exception to the rule, you have two options. You can have a laparoscopy and have the tubes opened (salpingoplasty) or you can have the tubes clipped/removed. If the tubes are opened, you have the opportunity to become pregnant naturally, like you showed that you could. It would allow the fluid to escape into the abdomen, thereby reducing the chances of backflow into the uterus. However, if there is tubal damage within, you are at increased risk of a tubal pregnancy called an ectopic pregnancy. That can be life threatening if it ruptures and you hemorrhage. The second option, which then requires IVF is certainly the safer option, but the more expensive option. You need to discuss these two options with your docs.

If I were counseling you, I would almost be inclined to recommend the former (tubal repair) as long as you were completely aware of the risk of ectopic and willing to take that chance. I would then watch you very closely if you were to become pregnant to rule out the ectopic at the beginning of your pregnancy.

I hope that this answers your questions.

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D.,FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.
Check me out on Facebook and Twitter with me at @montereybayivf


  1. I had an etopic pregnancy in my left tube and took methotrexate injections to remove it. Later on my HSG its shown that my left tube has small hydro salpinx (though the tube is open )and right one looks normal.Im scared and we were thinking of trying on the month when the we see the folicle from right tube..What is the advice scared

  2. Hello,

    A hydrosalpinx is an indication of the accumulation of fluid within the tube causing it to dilate. It usually means that the tube is blocked and the tube cannot easily escape. In your case, the tube may be partially blocked by blocked enough to not allow the fluid to flow through easily. I would assume that this tube is damaged and not functional.

    The problem with this scenario is that you had an ectopic pregnancy. That is where the embryo gets caught within the tube and starts to implant and grow at that point. It is usually a surgical emergency for fortunately it was found early in your case and could be treated with medication. Ectopics are usually caused from micro-scar tissue within the lumen of the tube. That scar tissue was probably caused by an infection or inflammation in the past that passed through the tube. The problem with this is that these events usually occur on both sides. Just as this affected tube was open enough for a pregnancy to occur, the opposite tube may also be open enough but that does not mean that it is normal. So, you have a higher risk of recurrent ectopic on the other side.

    Just because an egg ovulates on one side does not mean that it goes into that particular tube. It actually ovulates into the middle then goes to one tube or the other depending on which one it finds. So whether or not you time your intercourse for when you ovulate from that side tube, it will not make any difference.

    Because of the increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, I will usually counsel my patients to strongly consider going directly to IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) so that we bypass the tubes. This will also increase the chances of pregnancy if the open (right) tube is damaged and non-functional.

    Good Luck



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