Dear Dr Mitchell,
My wife and I are longing to have a child. Could you recommend a medical provider who can help us in this regard? In particular, we are interested in clearing her tubes with alternative medical treatments, including herbal medicine.
Infertility that is due to blocked Fallopian tubes is usually caused by a pelvic infection that is sexually transmitted. The blockage occurs because of failure to treat the infection promptly. In some instances, recurrent infection is what causes severe damage to the lining of the Fallopian tubes, resulting in both tubes being blocked and bound down.
Damaged Fallopian tubes can sometimes be fixed by doing an operation to remove the adhesion band and free up the tubes if they are bound down. If there is a blockage in the lining of the tube, it can be removed and both ends brought back together to establish a functional Fallopian tube. However, because the lining is sometimes extensively damaged from the infection, fixing the Fallopian tubes will not help in achieving pregnancy and will significantly increase the risk of a pregnancy lodging in the Fallopian tube. This is called an ectopic pregnancy, and the Fallopian tube can rupture, leading to massive haemorrhage.
The use of herbal medicine to clear the tubes is highly questionable, and so is not a recommended or recognised form of treatment. It is always safer to stick with the standard methods of treatment. In vitro fertilisation has to be done in cases where the Fallopian tubes are beyond repair. This is a procedure that bypasses the tubes. The egg is removed from the female and the sperm from the male partner. They are brought together in the laboratory and fertilised, then transferred directly into the uterine cavity. Please consult your wife's gynaecologist who will advise you further.
Dr Sharmaine Mitchell is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Ave, Kingston 5; or fax to 968-2025. All responses are published. Dr Mitchell cannot provide personal responses.