Making decisions about your fertility health and well-being can be a stressful and emotional time. Such a personal topic warrants great consideration prior to making any decisions but sometimes, even after research, consultations, and a lot of thought, you may find yourself wanting to reverse a prior decision. Fortunately, modern medicine has made it possible to do so, even after what is often considered a permanent form of birth control.
What is tubal ligation?
Tubal ligation, more commonly known as a woman getting her “tubes tied,” is a procedure whereby a woman’s fallopian tubes are cut and tied off to prevent an egg from making its way down the tubes into the uterus for fertilization and growing into an embryo and, eventually, a fetus. While tubal ligation is incredibly effective — in fact, about 99 percent effective — it is possible to get pregnant even after undergoing this surgery designed to prevent pregnancy.
The possibility of pregnancy after tubal ligation
If a woman decides she wants to get pregnant after tubal ligation, she may undergo a reversal surgery. This is when a surgeon reconnects the fallopian tubes to allow eggs to make their way into the uterus once again for fertilization and the possibility of pregnancy. While this is a viable option, it is important to note that only about 50-to-80 percent of women become pregnant following a tubal ligation reversal.
Several factors come into play when considering how likely a woman is to have a successful pregnancy after tubal ligation reversal, including age, the method used to “tie the tubes,” how much time has passed since the surgery, and how much scar tissue is present as a result of the prior surgery.
The younger a woman is, the greater chance she has of becoming pregnant and the more time that has passed between tubal ligation and the reversal surgery, the less likely it is. Additionally, the more scar tissue present, the more difficult it will be to reverse the surgery. The amount of scar tissue results from the method used during the initial surgery — as there are several ways to complete tubal ligation.
Note: Ectopic Pregnancy
Tubal ligation reversal surgery may also increase a woman’s risk of ectopic pregnancy, which is when an egg becomes fertilized but, instead of implanting into the uterus, it implants into the fallopian tube. This can be very dangerous, resulting in the rupture of a ruptured fallopian tube and internal bleeding. If you begin to experience heavy vaginal bleeding, severe abdominal and/or pelvic pain, or lightheadedness during a pregnancy after tubal ligation reversal, you should seek medical attention immediately.
At OC Fertility, we prioritize our patients and assist them in making the most informed decision for themselves and their families. To learn more, or for answers to any questions you may have about reversing tubal ligation or pregnancy after tubal ligation, call us at (949) 706-2229 to schedule a consultation.