Dr. Edward Ramirez is the medical director of Monterey Bay IVF, a women's fertility & gynecology center located in Monterey, California. He hopes to provide those who read his infertility blog with insights into the latest advances in women's health & infertility issues. He respectfully shares his knowledge as a specialist with women and men from all over the world. Visit his center at www.montereybayivf.com
Hydrosalpinx & Fertility: The Difference Between Surgically Caused & Naturally Occurring Hydrosalpinx
I was detected with a dermoid cyst in my right ovary in 2005. I underwent laparoscopy in 2006 and my right ovary was also removed. Post surgery I had normal cycles every month however some months my menstrual flow is less. Last week I had some hormonal tests which turned out to be normal. I also underwent an ultrasound which detected a right 22x13 mm hydrosalpinx. Left ovary and tube is normal. Will the right hydrosalpinx be a problem in me conceiving naturally? I am unmarried and it will be at least 5 years before I will have a baby. Please advise.
Thanks in advance for your support. M. from India
Answer: Hello M. from India,
First of all, the presence of a "hydrosalpinx" means that the right tube is blocked. Therefore, it will not be available to pick up the egg to achieve pregnancy. However, if the left tube is normal, that is all you need. You would still be able to become pregnant naturally.
However, there is a second issue. It is known that a "hydrosalpinx" that is visible on ultrasound examination can interfere with implantation in IVF. It is presumed that the hydrosalpinx has inflammatory fluid that back-flows into the uterine cavity leading to a low grade endometritis or inflammation of the endometrium. Pregnancy rates with IVF in this situation are seen to decrease by 50%. For this reason, it is recommended to remove or clip the tube so that it is separated from the uterus before undergoing IVF.
Having said this, however, this policy or recommendation is for hydrosalpinges that are visible on ultrasound AND are in "naturally occurring" hydrosalpinges due to a previous pelvic or tubal infection and NOT for dilated tubes that were caused by a tubal ligation. So the question is was your hydrosalpinx due to the surgery i.e. either the end of the tube was cut or scar tissue was formed from the surgery. In most cases of doing an oophorectomy (remove the ovary), the tube is usually taken with the ovary. If this is the case, the hydrosalpinx is iatrogenic, meaning surgically caused and not due to a previous tubal infection. In that case, it is logical that there would be no inflammatory fluid to leak into the endometrium and so the recommendation to remove it prior would not hold. This particular instance has not been tested by study, however.
So, in your situation, if the hydrosalpinx was not there prior to the surgery, and the tube was not cut/damaged or scarred from the surgery, then the hydrosalpinx subsequently occurred through a pelvic infection, then it could possibly affect your pregnancy rates. Then the left intact tube could have scar tissue as well not visible with ultrasound. However, if it was due to the surgery, then it would not.
I hope this clarifies things for you. As far as waiting five years to have a child, it would not make any difference, depending on your age of course.
Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG Executive Medical Director The Fertility and Gynecology Center Monterey Bay IVF Program http://www.montereybayivf.com/ Monterey, California, U.S.A.