Getting Pregnant After a Tubal Ligation
A tubal ligation, also know as getting your “tubes tied,” is a common sterilization technique that many women choose. Having your tubes tied closes the fallopian tubes, through cutting, burning, or blocking with clips, bands, or rings. This blocking keeps the egg from traveling from the ovary to the uterus. In addition, it prevents sperm from reaching the fallopian tube. A tubal ligation, while it is around 99.5% effective at preventing pregnancy, does not protect against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
A tubal ligation is generally considered to be a permanent method of birth control. For women who think that they may change their minds about wanting children in the future, other birth control options are generally recommended.
After having your tubes tied, there are essentially three options if you decide you want children (or more children.) They include:
- A reversal of the tubal ligation. This is an operation that attempts to reconnect the fallopian tubes. This works best if you are in good health, in your late thirties or younger, and if you have a fertile partner. This is also most successful if it has been less than 10 years since the original tubal ligation. Your physician can determine through a physical exam, tests, and review of the original tubal ligation whether or not you are a good candidate for a reversal. Also, there is a greater risk for an ectopic pregnancy after a reversal. Additionally, reversing a tubal ligation can be difficult and expensive. Success rates for a reversal of the tubal ligation range anywhere from 20 to 70 percent.
- Assisted reproduction, such as in vitro fertilization. If your physician determines that you are not a good candidate for a reversal of your tubal ligation, you may still be able to conceive a child through in vitro fertilization. With IVF, there is no need for the egg to pass through the fallopian tubes.
Adoption. While this is not the first choice of many women, it is certainly a viable option when the other possibilities have been exhausted.