Is it possible to get pregnant after a tubal ligation?

Tubal ligation or tubal sterilization is a contraceptive method that consists of closing the fallopian tubes by cutting, cauterizing or using rings or other devices. In this way, the sperm will not be able to reach the egg in the tube and, therefore, fertilization will not occur.

Since, in principle, it is an irreversible method and with a very high efficiency, the woman chooses it when she is sure that she will not want any more pregnancies. But life circumstances can vary and with it the reasons that make the woman change her mind on this issue.

What to do then? Can I get pregnant if I have had a tubal ligation? The answer is yes, and we explain in detail how it can happen.

Through reversible surgery

Via Planned Parenhood

Tubal ligation reversal is performed by surgery, although the success of the intervention will depend on the type of ligation the doctor made at the time. In this sense, the less the damage caused to the tube, the greater the chances of reconstruction.

  • If the technique used was the cutting of one of the parts of the tube and the subsequent ligation, reconstruction could be possible in up to 75% of cases, according to data provided by the Tambre Clinic , although it will depend on the type of cut made.

And it is essential that the distal part of the tubes (terminations close to the ovary) have been kept viable and that they have a minimum length of four centimeters, so that they have not lost functionality.

  • Reversal can also be achieved if sterilization was carried out using tubal clips or rings ; in fact, this procedure is, according to experts , the easiest to reverse.
  • However, the same does not happen if the technique used at the time was Essure (withdrawn from the market in 2017), because in that case the reversal would not be possible.
  • If the technique used was cauterization , the tube is almost completely damaged, making recanalization impossible.

How the reversal surgery proceeds

If you want to undergo a tubal ligation reversal procedure, your doctor will thoroughly explain the pros and cons of the procedure. In this way, you will be able to assess together the suitability of the surgery , since in addition to the ligation technique used, other factors that may condition the success of a future pregnancy must be taken into account .

According to data from the University of Navarra, between 10 and 15% of women who have undergone a tubal ligation change their mind at some point, and decide to reverse the procedure.

If reversal surgery is finally carried out, it will be done laparoscopically, seeking to restore the functionality of the tube by removing the fragments that block it or repairing it with absorbable sutures.

Data to consider with reversal surgery

A study published by the scientific journal, National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), studied a group of 42 women who had undergone a ligation reversal technique in different hospitals in the United States.

All the women were 40 years or older, and of the 42, 18 achieved a pregnancy after surgery . The data subsequently obtained were the following:

  • Of the 18 pregnancies, six reached term with live newborns.
  • 10 patients suffered a miscarriage in the first trimester.
  • One of the 18 pregnancies was ectopic, since the risk of this complication occurring increases by up to 8%, with the serious consequences that this has .
  • One of the pregnancies had an elective termination.

Through In Vitro Fertilization

The in vitro fertilization (IVF) is the technique most frequently used to return to get pregnant after a tubal ligation , as it prevents women undergoing surgery to the time that increases the pregnancy success, reaching 40% if the woman is under 35 years of age.

IVF is performed after ovarian stimulation of the patient with medication. With this, the aim is to obtain good quality oocytes, which will later be extracted and fertilized in the laboratory with semen from a partner or donor. The resulting embryos will be transferred to the uterus, pending implantation and pregnancy.

Although IVF can also be performed with donor eggs (increasing the pregnancy rate), this decision has nothing to do with whether the woman has a tubal ligation.

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