What do Fallopian Tubes Do?
Each month an egg is released from one of the ovaries and travels down its fallopian tube where it waits to be fertilised by a sperm. It then continues its journey down the fallopian tube and into the uterus where it sticks to one of the walls, embeds itself and will start forming an embryo if pregnancy is to be successful that month. If the tube is blocked, this cannot happen.
Causes of Blocked Fallopian Tubes
The most common cause of blocked tubes is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) caused by the bacteria following an infection. They can also be blocked, or partially blocked, by endometriosis or following an infection after childbirth. The Fallopian Tubes might even have been blocked deliberately as a permanent method of birth control. This can be by clamping or by severing the tubes.
In some cases damaged fallopian tubes can be repaired by surgery but this is not always successful and even when it is, a repaired tube might not let an egg or embryo pass through freely, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy. The alternative is IVF, where the eggs are retrieved directly from the ovaries and patent fallopian tubes are not required.