Tubal blockage or adhesions affect up to a third of women experiencing a delay in getting pregnant. There are three ways of checking whether a woman’s fallopian tubes are open (patent):
* An operation called a laparoscopy and dye test,
* A contrast tubal patency scan called a HyCoSy scan and
* An X ray procedure called an HSG.
In some cases the woman can have these tests done on the NHS but some women may not be eligible for NHS funding. NHS funding depends on your individual circumstances and the CCG for your GP’s surgery. All of those policies are on your local CCG’s website. If you aren’t eligible for NHS funding or if you want to speed up the process of fertility investigations, you can opt for self-funded tubal patency testing.
At your initial consultation in Fertility Exeter, the doctor will take a clinical history and assess your risk of having tubal disease.
Fertility Exeter can arrange for your blood to be tested to screen for past or silent Chlamydia infection. We can also provide screening with self-taken Chlamydia swabs. If your Chlamydia blood test is negative then your chance of tubal blockage is less than 10% and tubal patency testing with a HyCoSy scan is very reasonable.
If your blood test is positive then your risk of tubal blockage or adhesions may be as high as 60-70% in which case we would recommend considering a laparoscopy and dye test. The advantage of a laparoscopy and dye test is that it is better at diagnosing adhesions and often surgery can be done at the same time to break down adhesions or open the tubes up. The disadvantage is that it is an operation and it carries uncommon but potentially serious complications. None of the doctors in Fertility Exeter undertake private practice but we can refer you on to colleagues who see patients at the Nuffield Hospital or you can explore with your GP whether you can be referred for an NHS funded procedure.
A HyCoSy scan is ideal for women who are at low risk of tubal blockage but who want to check their tubes prior to insemination treatment using either donor or their partner’s sperm. It is also suitable for women who want the reassurance that their tubes aren’t blocked so that they can continue to try to conceive naturally.
A HyCoSy scan is an ultrasound scan done after a small tube (catheter) has been passed through the cervix into the cavity of the womb and then a microbubble mixture is injected through the catheter while a scan is carried out. The procedure also includes a detailed scan of the womb and ovaries. For a more detailed description of the procedure please see our patient information leaflet in the relevant section of our website. If the HyCoSy scan shows any abnormalities then you may be recommended to have an operation to investigate further. This would be explained to you at the time of your HyCoSy scan and a follow up appointment will be arranged for you to discuss the options in detail.
To arrange a HyCoSy scan please contact Fertility Exeter via a GP referral or a self-referral form. Details of the costs of the procedure are in the Costs section of the website.