A Birmingham hospital has become one of the few NHS centres in Britain to offer a procedure that gives some women with fertility problems a chance of having their own baby.
Selective salpingography has been introduced at Heart-lands Hospital as a minor outpatient operation which can treat proximally blocked fallopian tubes.
Research has shown between five and 20 per cent of women with fertility problems have an occlusion near the tube's opening into the uterus.
This is often due to a build up of dead cells or debris. Previously the only options have been a lengthy, invasive surgery to remove the blocked part of the tube or IVF treatment, which can cost up to £3,000 per cycle.
The procedure, which is also offered at Birmingham Women's Hospital, is done under local anaesthetic and is completed within 30 minutes.
A catheter is passed through the cervix and the uterus to the fallopian tube, then dye is flushed through it to try and force the blockage. If necessary a guide wire, which expands to fill the tube, is used to clear the obstruction.
Research has shown that about 85 per cent of fallopian tubes blocked like this way could be cleared successfully using this method and, if there are no other causes of infertility, many women go on to conceive naturally.
The operation, which costs the NHS about £500, is cheaper than the rounds of hormone injections, investigations and specialist treatment women endure as a last resort.
Spyros Papaioannou, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Heartlands, said selective salpingography could help more women conceive naturally and should lead to a cut in IVF waiting lists, if more hospitals offered the procedure.
He said: "This procedure is not as widely used as it should be, given the NICE guidance on fertility treatment issued in 2004, as evidence suggests it can increase their chance of becoming pregnant.
"I would also like to establish in the future whether it could also be used for women diagnosed with unexplained infertility, whether this can make a difference to their chances of pregnancy."