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Benefits of IVF vs FTR for Infertility

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    For couples facing fertility challenges due to fallopian tube obstruction, two prominent treatment options emerge: fallopian tube recanalization (FTR) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Both approaches aim to overcome obstacles to natural conception, but they differ significantly in methodology and outcomes. 

    Fallopian Tube Recanalization

    Fallopian tube recanalization involves the restoration of patency to obstructed fallopian tubes. The procedure is typically performed using imaging guidance, such as fluoroscopy, and uses catheters and guidewires to navigate through the blocked tubes. The goal is to create a clear pathway for sperm to meet the egg, allowing for natural conception. Read more about the FTR procedure here.

    Advantages of Fallopian Tube Recanalization

    1. Natural Conception: FTR supports natural conception by addressing the root cause of infertility – fallopian tube obstruction. By restoring the tubes' patency, the procedure enables sperm to travel unimpeded to fertilize an egg, fostering a natural reproductive process.2

    2. Reduced Cost: In comparison to the often expensive and multifaceted process of IVF, fallopian tube recanalization is generally a more cost-effective option. The one-time procedure and subsequent natural conception reduce ongoing treatment expenses.3 

    In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

    In vitro fertilization involves the extraction of eggs from the woman's ovaries, fertilizing them with sperm in a laboratory, and then transferring the fertilized embryo(s) back into the uterus. This method bypasses the fallopian tubes, allowing conception to occur externally.

    Advantages of In Vitro Fertilization

    1. High Success Rates: IVF has demonstrated high success rates, making it a reliable option for couples facing complex fertility issues. The controlled environment of the laboratory allows for the selection of the healthiest embryos for implantation, potentially increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy.4

    2. Addressing Other Factors: IVF can overcome various fertility challenges beyond fallopian tube obstruction. It is a versatile option suitable for cases where female or male factor infertility, endometriosis, or unexplained infertility is present.

    Comparing the Benefits: Fallopian Tube Recanalization vs. In Vitro Fertilization

    1. Natural Conception vs. Assisted Reproduction

       – FTR: The primary advantage of fallopian tube recanalization lies in its promotion of natural conception. By restoring the normal flow of sperm and eggs, it aligns with the natural reproductive process.

       – IVF: IVF, while highly effective, is an assisted reproductive technology that occurs outside the body. It involves the manipulation of eggs and sperm in a laboratory setting, bypassing the natural process to a certain extent.

    2. Cost-Effectiveness

       – FTR: Fallopian tube recanalization is generally more cost-effective than IVF. The one-time procedure, if successful, eliminates ongoing treatment costs associated with assisted reproductive technologies.

       – IVF: IVF can be a more expensive and resource-intensive option. Multiple cycles may be needed, and the cost accumulates with each attempt.

    3. Reduced Physical and Emotional Burden

       – FTR: Fallopian tube recanalization, being a minimally invasive procedure, often involves less physical stress and a quicker recovery compared to the more complex process of IVF.

       – IVF: The hormonal stimulation, egg retrieval, and embryo transfer phases in IVF can be physically demanding and emotionally challenging. The need for multiple cycles may increase the emotional burden on couples.5 

    IVF vs FTR: What is Better?

    Both fallopian tube recanalization and in vitro fertilization offer viable options for couples facing fertility challenges. The choice between the two should be based on individual circumstances, preferences, and medical recommendations. Fallopian tube recanalization's advantages lie in its alignment with natural conception, cost-effectiveness, and reduced physical and emotional burden. In contrast, in vitro fertilization, with its high success rates, addresses a broader range of fertility issues but comes with a higher financial and emotional investment.

    Ultimately, the decision should involve open communication between couples and the doctors that perform these procedures, considering factors such as the specific cause of infertility, the couple's emotional readiness, and financial considerations. Advances in assisted reproductive technologies continue to expand the options available, providing hope for couples on their fertility journey.

    If you have blocked fallopian tubes and considering the FTR procedure, contact our office to setup an appointment with our physician.

    Contact Us Today

    Request an appointment to meet with our embolization specialist who will review your imaging and medical records to determine if you are a good candidate and outcomes you can expect.  Consultations can be via an online video telehealth platform or in person at one of the offices in Los Angeles, Orange County or San Diego, depending on the doctor’s availability.  Why should you choose us? Read here.


    1.  Mol BW, Swart P, Bossuyt PM, et al. Reproducibility of the interpretation of hysterosalpingography in the diagnosis of tubal pathology. Hum Reprod. 1996;11(6):1204-1208.
    2.  Ozcan C, Celik H, Cil AS, et al. Hysterosalpingography: a re-emerging study. Diagn Interv Radiol. 2015;21(3):199-204.
    3.  Barnhart K, Dunsmoor-Su R, Coutifaris C. Effect of endometriosis on in vitro fertilization. Fertil Steril. 2002;77(6):1148-1155.
    4. van Loendersloot LL, van Wely M, Limpens J, et al. Predictive factors in in vitro fertilization (IVF): a systematic review and meta-analysis. Hum Reprod Update. 2010;16(6):577-589.
    5.  Gameiro S, Boivin J, Peronace L, Verhaak CM. Why do patients discontinue fertility treatment? A systematic review of reasons and predictors of discontinuation in fertility treatment. Hum Reprod Update. 2012;18(6):652-669.

    The above information explains what is involved and the possible risks. It is not meant to be a substitute for informed discussion between you and your doctor, but can act as a starting point for such a discussion.

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