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Is Fertility Affected by Long Fallopian Tubes?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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In most women, the length of the fallopian tubes does not directly affect fertility. The tubes would need to be extremely oversized to make getting, or staying, pregnant more difficult. Longer than average fallopian tubes can be the sign of certain other fertility issues, however. For instance, certain ovarian diseases or defects may be marked by swollen or long fallopian tubes.

A woman with no other abnormalities other than long fallopian tubes will likely have no trouble getting pregnant. It should be noted that even women who have average fertility can take up to one year to become pregnant under normal circumstances. Fertility issues are usually not explored further until a couple has been trying at least 12 months to become pregnant. This is not always the case, as some older couples or those with known risk factors for infertility may be checked more quickly.

The presence of long fallopian tubes may be the sign of another underlying condition. Some genetic defects may result in longer than normal tubes combined with ovarian abnormalities. Long fallopian tubes may also be found in combination with swollen ovaries or ovarian cysts. These conditions may lead to problems with getting pregnant, although the long tubes are a secondary symptom and not a primary cause of infertility.

There are conditions of the fallopian tubes which may lead to infertility, however. Although they do not typically elongate, the tubes may become swollen and inflamed if certain diseases are present. One of the most common is pelvic inflammatory disease, which is a serious infection of the reproductive organs. It may be caused by an overgrowth of normal bacterial, abnormal bacteria introduced during childbirth, miscarriage, or termination of a pregnancy, or certain sexually transmitted diseases may also cause it.

Occasionally, blockages within the tubes may also occur. These can prevent eggs from reaching the uterus and sperm from entering the fallopian tubes. Endometriosis may lead to such blockages, because this condition may cause scar tissue and affect the way the tubes and uterus are positioned within the body. Conditions involving blockages can often be fixed with surgery.

Anyone who is concerned about potential fertility issues should see a doctor. Although long fallopian tubes are usually not cause for concern alone, they may indicate that further investigation is needed to rule out other conditions. Most fertility issues are hormonal in nature, rather than being caused by something within the structure of the reproductive organs.

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Discussion Comments
By bluedolphin — On Feb 16, 2014

Having long fallopian tubes is really not a problem in comparison to blocked fallopian tubes. In the latter, it's impossible to conceive and surgery is usually necessary.

By ysmina — On Feb 15, 2014

@fify-- That's a great point. I'm not an expert but I agree with you that long fallopian tubes might be an issue if there is low sperm count or poor sperm motility. So it's a good idea for the male to get proper tests done if the woman has trouble conceiving and knows that she has long fallopian tubes.

I've heard of a procedure that may be used in these cases. I believe it's called intratubal insemination. They basically take the best sperm out of a lot and directly place it into the fallopian tubes so that sperm have more chances of reaching the egg. I think it might be an expensive procedure though and I'm not sure if every fertility clinic does it. But there are ways of working around this issue if it proves to be a hindrance to fertility. I don't think that there is a type of fallopian tube surgery to shorten the tubes. That would probably be dangerous even if it existed.

By fify — On Feb 15, 2014

Doesn't having long fallopian tubes mean that sperm have to travel farther to get to the egg? So how does this not affect fertility?

It might not be a problem if sperm are very healthy and can travel far distances. But if there are issues with sperm, then I think that having long fallopian tubes would affect pregnancy. Am I wrong?

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