When you had tubal ligation surgery, you were probably certain you never wanted to get pregnant. About 27% of fertile women choose tubal sterilization as their method of contraception, intending to permanently prevent future pregnancies.
But life happens. Even if you were once 100% sure, your circumstances, relationships and goals may have changed. So if you’ve changed your mind, can your tubal ligation be reversed?
The answer is yes, with a procedure called “tubal ligation reversal.”
Let’s break down some common FAQs:
Am I a good candidate?
When you speak to your doctor about tubal ligation reversal, factors such as your age, the type of surgery you had to get your tubes tied, how long ago you had them tied, the overall health of your ovaries and the length of your fallopian tubes will be important considerations to determine if you are a good candidate for a reversal. In general, tubal reversal is more successful if you are under 40 years old and have only had a small part of your tubes removed, or if your tubes were closed with rings or clips. Success rates for reversals are about 70% to 80%.
How does the surgery work?
Tubal ligation reversal is done under general anesthesia, so you won’t feel pain or be awake for the operation. Your surgeon will make a small incision, called a “bikini cut” near your pubic hair line. Then, using tiny instruments attached to a small lighted scope (a laparoscope), your surgeon will remove any clips or rings that were used to block your tubes, and reconnect the ends of the tubes to the uterus using small stitches. The procedure takes two to three hours, and generally patients can return home the same day.
How long does it take to recover?
Recovery time varies, but most women go back to normal activities in less than two weeks. Your surgeon will prescribe you medication to help you manage post-surgical pain.
What is the success rate for pregnancy after reversal?
There is no guarantee that you will become pregnant after reversal. In general, pregnancy success rates after reversal range from 40% to 85%.
There are a number of factors that can influence your chances of getting pregnant, including:
- The health and length of your remaining fallopian tubes
- Whether you or your partner have fertility issues
- Your age – younger women have a higher chance of getting pregnant
- The amount of scar tissue in your pelvic area
When pregnancy happens, it’s usually within the first year after reversal.
Is there risk of complications?
Any type of surgery comes with a degree of risk, though complications from tubal ligation reversal are rare. Possible complications include bleeding, infection, organ damage, adverse reactions to anesthesia, and a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy (a life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg grows in your fallopian tubes instead of your womb).
How much does tubal reversal surgery cost?
Tubal reversal is generally expensive, especially because insurance doesn’t typically cover the procedure. The operation can cost several thousand dollars, plus the cost of anesthesia, hospital fees, and fertility tests before the procedure. Total costs can add up to more than $10,000.
Are there any alternatives to tubal reversal surgery?
Yes. In vitro fertilization is another option. In IVF, your egg and your partner’s sperm are fertilized outside the womb, and the fertilized embryo is then inserted into your uterus. Check out our blog post on “Tubal Reversal Surgery vs. IVF”, to help you decide which is right for you.
If you are considering tubal reversal surgery, it’s best to be absolutely certain you don’t want to become pregnant in the future. However, situations change, and people change. You still have options if you want to get pregnant after tubal ligation.
If you have additional questions on tubal ligation reversal, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our surgeons today!