Having one fallopian tube – rather than two – does not mean you can’t get pregnant. However, there is a chance that it may take you longer than expected or that you’ll want to consult with a fertility specialist.
The chances of getting pregnant with a single tube depend on various factors, including your age, the reason you’re missing the other tube, and any existing medical or infertility factors. Women with one tube can usually get pregnant without ART if they:
- Have at least one healthy, functioning ovary
- Experience regular menstrual cycles (still ovulating)
- Don’t have additional medical or reproductive issues
- Aren’t taking medications known to inhibit fertility
People don’t realize that many women with a single tube still have two functioning ovaries. The body is so incredible – including a single fallopian tube to “pick up” an egg from the ovary on the opposite side. So, depending on other factors, your single fallopian tube may not be an obstacle after all.
It’s also important to note that, as with any woman, age matters when it comes to fertility because egg quality is key to conception and the development of a healthy, full-term baby. So, if you are more than 35 years of age with only one tube, it might be worth scheduling an appointment with a fertility specialist sooner rather than later to put a proactive fertility plan into place.
In the meantime, here are tips on trying to conceive with one tube:
If you only have one functioning fallopian tube and are35-years old or younger, we recommend making lifestyle choices that support conception and healthy pregnancy. That includes:
- Cutting out any unhealthy habits (smoking, drinking alcohol, and recreational drugs).
- Focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet
- Managing your weight (fertility rates are lower for women and men who are under and overweight)
- Managing stress levels
- Establishing healthy sleep habits that support hormone balance
- Scheduling preconception appointment with OB/GYN
Healthy women have higher fertility rates, so focusing on overall well-being is an important first step in having a baby.
The reason(s) why you have one functioning fallopian tube plays a role in how easy it will be to conceive – or whether fertility support may be needed down the road.
For example, if one tube is blocked due to severe endometriosis, that same diagnosis may affect the other tube in some way. Similarly, if your tube was removed due to infection, there’s a chance the other tube has scarring or related blockages, which may be worth investigating before you start TTC. Or, if your other tube was damaged or removed after an ectopic pregnancy, your doctor will want to monitor you more carefully this time as that increases your chances of a second ectopic pregnancy.
Your doctor can let you know how your particular diagnosis may impact fertility, helping you to create a plan. In some cases, an OB/GYN may recommend trying on your own at home (see below) for three, six, or nine months – after which they’ll refer you to a fertility specialist.
There are two important steps necessary as you try to conceive a baby without fertility treatments.
The first is establishing when you ovulate. You may have read that most women ovulate around Day 14 or so of their menstrual cycle. That’s true for most women with a 28-day cycle (the average). However, “normal” menstrual cycles vary anywhere from 23 to 35 days.
Instead, use a fertility app or keep a calendar and track your cycle. You’ll need to do this for at least three to four months to figure out your average. Once you’ve established the average length, count back 12 days. This gives you an approximate ovulation date. But we recommend using ovulation predictor kits (OPK) from your local drug store to get the most precise information.
All those movies showing men and women having sex the minute the woman ovulates do a great disservice to “TTC best practices.” Couples timing conception for pregnancy should be having sex in the days leading up to ovulation as well as ovulation day to optimize chances of conception.
Healthy male sperm live for up to five days or more, while the egg only lives for about 24 hours or less. The more sperm waiting at the ready, the greaterthe chance one of them hits the mark. So, this means that once you’ve counted back 12 days from your final menstrual cycle day, count back another four or so; that’s when you should start having sex.
Do you feel your single tube or other factors are causing infertility? Then, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist to learn more about what we can do. For some couples, this means using fertility medications to boost the number of eggs available during ovulation.
In other cases, IVF is one of the best ways to get pregnant with one tube because it takes the tube out of the equation. Healthy women with one tube, and between the ages of 25 and 34 have some of the highest IVF rates out there. Schedule an appointment at the Reproductive Resource Center to create a plan for conceiving with one fallopian tube.