Can I get pregnant with my tubes tied? This is a common question for women after they have had tubal ligation procedures. Most women who have tubal ligation operations do so understanding natural pregnancy will not occur.
Yet many women know of someone who has become pregnant after a sterilization procedure. Pregnancies do happen after tubal ligation operations and it is possible to get pregnant after having your tubes tied!
Tubal Ligation Failure
Tubal ligation failures do happen. Most women who have a tubal ligation operation will not become pregnant; however, up to 2% of women may experience tubal ligation failure after their procedures. All tubal ligation procedures have failures:
bipolar tubal coagulation (tubal burning)
tubal ligation and resection (tying and cutting)
unipolar tubal coagulation
In general, the younger a person is when the tubal ligation occurs the higher the chance for having a failure of the ligation procedure. Hulka clip and tubal coagulation procedures also have been shown in long term studies to have higher tubal ligation failures.
How Does A Tubal Ligation Work?
Tubal ligations work by causing permanent blockage of the fallopian tube. This prevents sperm from finding an egg and prevents the egg from ever finding the inside of the uterus. Clips and rings cause pressure on the tube and the tube will heal closed after they are applied. Tying and cutting the tube causes the same process to occur but just removes a little more of the tube than do the clips and rings. Tubal coagulation uses electricity to generate heat to damage the portion of the tube to which the heat is applied and the tube will heal closed after the tubal sterilization procedure.
All of these methods are intended to result in permanent tubal blockage and prevent pregnancy.
How Does Pregnancy Happen After a Tubal?
Any tubal ligation is intended to damage the tube and cause the body to heal the damage. The healing of the tubal damage is what causes the tube to close. This is true regardless of the type of tubal ligation procedure a woman has undergone. Occasionally, during the healing response a small opening may remain in the segment of the tube closest to the uterus. This small opening is called a fistula.
This small opening can easily allow sperm to find their way out of the uterus, through the incompletely closed tube and to the the released egg. When the sperm fertilize the egg then conception will occur. The fertilized egg will be blocked in the segment of the tube that has been separated from the uterus. This explains the high ectopic pregnancy rate among women who get pregnant after a tubal ligation. On some occasions the fertilized egg can find its way into the uterus, but this is like trying to thread the eye of a needle.
Another reason for tubal ligation failure is recanalization. Recanalization occurs when the two separated segments heal back together after the tubal sterilization. Recanalization is most common after a bipolar tubal coagulation if the tube has been burned minimally in only one place and the burn did not go all the way through the tube completely.
Can I Have a Baby After My Tubes Have Been Tied?
You can have a baby after your tubes have been tied. Most women will choose to have a tubal ligation reversal. If you have been pregnant after a tubal ligation then you should not count on a natural, normal pregnancy happening. Most tubal ligation failure pregnancies will be ectopic. Pregnancy after tubal reversal surgery has a lower ectopic pregnancy risk than a pregnancy occuring to than a tubal ligation failure. You can get pregnant after your tubes have been tied, and tubal ligation reversal will provide the best chance of pregnancy.
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