ectopic pregnancy may affect your future fertility, and it increases your risk of having another ectopic pregnancy. When an ectopic pregnancy grows in a
fallopian tube, it can damage the surrounding tubal
tissue. This may make it more likely that an egg will get stuck there in the future. But early detection and treatment can minimize the damaging effects of
an ectopic pregnancy.
Your chances of having another ectopic pregnancy will be affected by your own combination of risk factors (things that increase your risk). These can include smoking, use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) to get pregnant, and how much fallopian tube damage you have.
Your future fertility and chances of having a successful pregnancy in the future will also depend on:1
Early detection is the key to avoiding new tube damage.
As long as you have one healthy fallopian tube, salpingostomy
(small tubal slit) and salpingectomy (part of tube removed) have about the same
effect on your future fertility. But if your other tube is damaged, your doctor
may try to do a salpingostomy. This may improve your chances of getting
pregnant in the future.2
If you become pregnant and are at high risk for ectopic pregnancy, you will be closely watched. Doctors
do not always agree about which risk factors are serious enough to watch
closely. But research suggests that risk is serious enough if you have had a
tubal surgery or an ectopic pregnancy before, were exposed to the chemical
DES (diethylstilbestrol) before birth, have known
fallopian tube problems, or have a pregnancy with an
intrauterine device (IUD) in place.3
Leven ED, et al. (2010). Ectopic pregnancy and
spontaneous abortion. In RG Nabel. ed., ACP Medicine, section 16, chap. 6. Hamilton, ON: BC Decker.
Farquhar CM (2005). Ectopic pregnancy.
Lancet, 366: 583-591.
Speroff L, Fritz MA (2005). Ectopic pregnancy. In
Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 7th
ed., pp. 1275-1302. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
May 6, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 06, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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