Women who have undergone tubal ligation, or the closing off or severing of the fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancy, are often told that the procedure is permanent. This is not true. Many women can get pregnant after tubal ligation, although there are different circumstances that they have to face compared than women who didn’t have their tubes cut.
Success Rate for Tubal Ligation
Ninety-nine percent of all cases of tubal ligation are successful. This means there’s a 1 percent chance that you might accidentally get pregnant after tubal ligation. A study conducted by the U.S. Collaborative Review of Sterilization reveals that most failures depend on the type of procedure that is done. For example, ligation that is done by damaging the tubes through burning is more successful than, say, banding or clipping them.
However, most accidental pregnancies that happen after a tubal ligation are ectopic pregnancies, or pregnancies that take place inside the fallopian tube instead of inside the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies are dangerous and will require surgical removal.
Women who want to get pregnant after tubal ligation have a high rate of success at conceiving, around 70 percent, after undergoing a reversal procedure. The operation is undoubtedly more painful than tubal ligation and needs a longer recovery time because, unlike with ligation that’s done through laparoscopy, reversal requires the surgeon to make a four-to-six inch incision on the lower abdomen.
The success of a reversal depends mainly on the length of the tubal stumps that were left after the ligation. If the stumps are long and the fimbria, the fringed border surrounding the fallopian tubes, are healthy, there’s a good chance at success. Most couples who consider a reversal can afterwards rely on good, ol’ sex and regular tracking of the woman’s ovulation days for them to conceive.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
When the woman doesn’t have a healthy reserve of eggs in her ovary, even a tubal reversal won’t be of much help if she wants to get pregnant after tubal ligation. Sometimes, the man doesn’t have a good sperm count either. This time, a couple may consider in vitro fertilization, a procedure that’s slowly but increasingly becoming a more common option for those who are struggling with fertility issues.
There is no invasive surgery in IVF, but the woman has to take in various medicines prescribed by her ob-gyne to stimulate the production of mature egg cells, which are extracted from her uterus and fertilized in a laboratory using sperm cells from the man. The fertilized egg is then implanted back into her uterus and the couple waits for around 10 days to see if the session was successful.
IVF is not as successful as a reversal procedure and different specialists have different success rates, varying from 20 to 40 percent. Sometimes, more than two embryos are implanted into the woman’s womb, resulting in twins or multiple births. If the first IVF session wasn’t successful, the couple can always opt for a second session and use eggs and sperm cells frozen from the first procedure.