We should not overlook the role of the fallopian tubes in the creation of a viable pregnancy. Most people think of the uterus, ovaries, and sperm as the most important elements involved in conception, but the fallopian tubes are important to the process, too. Why? The tubes are the road the egg must travel from the ovary to the uterus.
As seasoned fertility specialists who offer a full scope of in vitro fertilization (IVF) services at Effortless IVF in Fort Worth and Bedford, Texas, Dr. Kevin Doody and Dr. Kathleen Doody are here to offer insight into the fallopian tube’s role in fertility and conception.
Ovulation occurs when an ovary releases a mature egg into a fallopian tube, which is a hollow tube that connects it to the uterus. Lined with tiny hair-like structures called cilia that gently transport the egg from the ovary to the uterus, the walls of the fallopian tubes contract and relax to facilitate the movement.
This stage of the conception journey is critical, because an egg only remains viable for fertilization for about 12-24 hours after ovulation.
If sperm are present, they typically fertilize the egg in the widest section of the fallopian tube, called the ampulla. If fertilization is successful, the fertilized egg (zygote), continues toward the uterus.
As the zygote travels down the fallopian tube, it begins a miraculous transformation, undergoing a series of rapid cell divisions. Over a period of three to five days, while still in the protection of the fallopian tube, the zygote becomes a blastocyst. Once it arrives in the uterus, the blastocyst attaches itself to the uterine lining, a process known as implantation.
The fallopian tubes’ role is critical up to this point; any disruptions in this complex process could compromise a pregnancy’s viability.
Sometimes, a blockage or scarring in the fallopian tubes can prevent the zygote from reaching the uterus. As a result, the zygote may implant itself in the fallopian tube, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.
In IVF, fertilization occurs outside the body, and the resulting embryo is implanted directly into the uterus, bypassing the fallopian tube. However, the health of the fallopian tubes still matters. Damaged or blocked tubes can cause issues like pelvic inflammatory disease, which can negatively impact overall reproductive health and IVF success rates.
The health and functionality of the fallopian tubes are integral to both natural and IVF conception methods. For more information on fertility treatments and how our team at Effortless IVF can assist you on your journey to parenthood, contact us by phone or schedule an appointment online at your nearest office in Fort Worth or Bedford, Texas, today.