Conception After a Tubal Ligation ReversalKatlyn Joy |25, November 2013
When most women get their tubes tied (tubal ligation) they assume it's forever and that's the point. But life has a way of changing minds sometimes. Maybe the procedure was done earlier in a woman's life and she's feeling different now about adding to her family. Perhaps she has remarried and would like a child with her new spouse. It could be that she was pressured by a former partner or life circumstances to consider the sterilization process and has regrets now.
Is it possible to get pregnant after tubal ligation?
Not every woman who has had a tubal ligation can have the process reversed. Things to consider include:
- If there's enough fallopian tube left intact to work with.
- The type of ligation used. If a clips or rings are used there is more a chance of success than if the ends were burned.
- According to the Mayo Clinic, procedures using Essure or Adiana seal off the tubes. That means the tubes are unable to be reopened.
- A reversal is more likely successful if you had the procedure done immediately after childbirth.
- The overall health of your entire reproductive system.
- Your age. Women under 40 have the best chances of achieving a tubal reversal and conceiving.
- If you have had surgeries such as those for endometriosis, PID or fibroids that result in scarring your chances of conceiving will be reduced after a reversal.
- If you had a healthy pregnancy prior to the tubal ligation.
How is a tubal ligation reversal performed?
Tubal ligation reversal is performed under general anesthesia and usually takes a few hours to complete. It may be done as either an inpatient or outpatient basis, which means going home in a few hours after recovery or perhaps in as long as a couple days later. Recovery time with improved processes has decreased the time required to about 5 to 10 days as opposed to 4 to 6 weeks in older, traditional surgeries.
The surgery is done using a small scope, a laparoscope, through a tiny incision in the abdomen with the aid of a microscope. If it's possible, once opening up the area, the physician will remove any blocked portions of the fallopian tubes and then reattach the ends. Absorbable stitches will be used.
The odds of getting pregnant following a reversal are about 50 percent, but range from 40 to 80 percent. Younger women who are of a healthy weight have much better chances of achieving pregnancy following the reversal surgery. Of course, your partner's sperm health plays an important role in the success as well. Also, how well the surgery went is an important factor. It also matters how long ago the original tubal ligation surgery was done. For those who had the surgery performed 8 or fewer years earlier, the success rate is about 87 percent versus those who had it done more than 8 years ago, with a 65 percent success rate.
With any surgery there is risk, including infection, bleeding, reactions to anesthesia, and damage to other organs. And of course, there is the risk that it will be all for naught. There is also a 4 -7 percent risk of the pregnancy, if achieved, being ectopic.
Today, many women are pursuing IVF, in-vitro fertilization, as another option to get pregnant after having had a tubal ligation. Reasons for going this route include:
- If the surgery was done in a way that didn't preserve enough of the fallopian tubes to make a reversal surgery possible.
- If a woman has other reproductive issues such as scarring on the tubes.
- If she is older than 35.
IVF success rates have been climbing and the costs are not too different between the two options. Both can cost thousands of dollars and are typically not covered by insurance.
Making the Decision
Deciding to have another baby is always a big life conversation to have with your partner or spouse. Even if it's medically feasible, you have to decide if you are ready in your relationship, particularly if you are considering a reversal after remarriage and other children are already on the scene. Are they ready for a baby from the new marriage too? Are you emotionally and financially prepared for not only the costs of the procedure but the baby as well? Having a baby is probably the biggest life decision you can ever make and one that will change your life forever. Consider the outcome and embrace your possibilities.
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