Pregnancy After a Tubal Ligation, Is it Possible?

Tubal ligation is chosen as an effective and irreversible contraceptive method. However, it is possible to get pregnant after practicing it.
Pregnancy After a Tubal Ligation, Is it Possible?

Last update: 29 October, 2021

Tubal ligation is the most common contraceptive method for women today. It’s also believed to be the most effective and irreversible. It’s usually chosen by those women who are sure they don’t want another pregnancy in the future.

Also, those who are between 40 and 50 years old and have a family history of ovarian cancer opt for this alternative. However, science indicates that we must allow for a certain margin of error, no matter how small. Likewise, the researchers point out that it is feasible to reconnect the tubes to restore their function.

So, is it possible to get pregnant after having a tubal ligation? Of course, it is, and we will already know the causes. In the following article, we’ll help you discover very interesting information about this increasingly widespread female practice.

Tubal ligation: It can be reversible

Experts indicate that tubal ligation is not a definitive method of contraception because, after having undergone this procedure, you can conceive. This will be possible through two mechanisms: One of them is the reversal of the ligation and the other consists of in vitro fertilization.

 

A woman looking sadly at a pregnancy test.

The IVF technique is usually recommended for women over 40 years of age. But if the woman is under that age, a reversal is suggested. It’s worth clarifying that it offers high success rates.

This microsurgical operation achieves up to 55% pregnancy success, a rate that could reach 70% in women under 35 years of age. However, there are several considerations to take into account when deciding to take that step.

First, for the tubal reversal to be a success, the ligation technique must have maintained the viability of the distal part of the tubes, that is, the terminations close to the ovary. Likewise, they must have a minimum length of 4 cm. This is because if they’re shorter, they’ll have probably lost functionality.

This can be a harsh reality for those who want to conceive again. If all or a large part of the tube was removed during the ligation, then the reversal will be impossible to perform. For this reason, it’s always best to consult the doctor who carried out the intervention.

Many women want to reverse their tubal ligation. According to the Colombian Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, there are several causes for these decisions. The most frequent are the formation of a couple with a new partner, the desire to have more children, the death of a child, and religious reasons.

Tubal Ligation: A Method That May Fail?

Yes, it is also possible to get pregnant after having a tubal ligation without the need for reversal. Studies show that the method isn’t a 100% guarantee of contraception. Of course, the chances are very low, as there’s only a 1% chance of becoming pregnant.

After several years of having her tubes tubes tied, a woman’s risk of conceiving increases up to 2%. Another phenomenon that was observed around this issue is that in such cases, ectopic pregnancies occur. This means that pregnancy occurs in the fallopian tube and not in the uterus.

This is because the sperm finds a small passage or fistula that remains after the procedure and is responsible for many unexpected pregnancies. Therefore, an egg is fertilized that can’t descend into the uterus due to obstruction.

This probability isn’t at all unreasonable. In fact, official statistics and figures support this data. It’s estimated that approximately one in two hundred women who have had a tubal ligation becomes pregnant due to this incomplete opening or closure.

What is tubal ligation?

A pregnant couple sitting in a field at dawn.

Tubal ligation is a surgery that takes approximately 30 minutes and is performed under general or local anesthesia. This surgical intervention can well be performed after having a baby, both by natural delivery and by cesarean section. There are different ways to practice it.

In the first type of tubal ligation, the surgeon will make two small incisions in the abdomen, around the belly button. Gas is pumped to expand the belly so that the uterus and fallopian tubes can be seen, in order to insert a tube with the laparoscope at the end.

Using the latter, the instrument that seals or blocks the tubes can be inserted. They can be burned (cauterized) or closed with a hook or ring (band). On the other hand, the alternative method uses coils where the tubes connect to the uterus.

This second alternative is called a hysteroscopic tubal occlusion procedure and is performed through the cervix. Contrary to the first technique, this doesn’t involve cuts in the abdomen and, in some cases, doesn’t require general anesthesia.

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