Can you get pregnant after tubal ligation? Pregnancy is very possible after having your tubes tied but the outcome may not be what you desire!
We are frequently contacted by those who want to get pregnant after tubal ligation…these women regret their decisions.
They often get their tubes tied while in a difficult, often abusive, relationship, prior to divorce, or before the death of a child. After some time has passed, they begin to second guess their decision to get their tubes tied and wonder how they can get pregnant after tubal ligation.
Our office specializes in helping people get pregnant after tubal ligation. We like to believe we restore hope!
We dont offer in-vitro fertilization (IVF). We only provide reversal of tubal ligation and vasectomy.
If you have asked yourself “Can I be pregnant after my tubal ligation?”, then this article is for you! The answer to this question and the options available to you may surprise you.
Is Pregnancy Possible After Tubal Ligation?
Pregnancy is possible after tubal ligation. Tubal ligation procedures are intended to be permanent. Did your doctor tell you they were going to “cut, tie, and burn your tubes” or did they tell you again and again as they stood over you “You know tubal ligation is permanent, right?”
Although tubal ligation procedure are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, pregnancies can occur after the fallopian tubes have been tied. Tubal ligation procedures can failure and pregnancy is possible after a tubal ligation.
Getting Pregnant After Tubal Ligation: How Does It Happen?
There are only three ways to become pregnant after tubal ligation:
- Tubal ligation failure
- In-vitro fertilization
- Tubal reversal surgery
Failed Tubal Ligation
A tubal ligation can fail in several ways: the fallopian tube may be missed during tubal ligation surgery (not common unless you have severe scar tissue or your doctor is an idiot), the tube may not be closed or blocked during the actual procedure (incomplete tubal burning or a clip popping off soon after it was placed), the tube may form a fistula (new opening), and recanalization (rejoining of the tubal lumens) can occur.
Recanalization occurs when the tube is not adequately closed and the tube reopens after the tubal ligation. Tubes don’t grow back together….the Fallopian tubes are not like lizard’s tails…they can’t regenerate.
For more information: Can tubes come untied? Can tubes grow back together?
Fistulization is probably the most common cause of tubal ligation failure.
Can You Have a Pregnancy After a Tubal Ligation?
Pregnancy can happen after a tubal ligation. A tubal ligation failure pregnancy is considered high risk because there is a greater chance the pregnancy will be ectopic (tubal). An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that has implanted inside the fallopian tube. Some people refer to these as ‘tubal pregnancies’.
Some women are overjoyed when they become pregnant after their tubes have been tied. They regret their tubal ligation and have prayed to God for a baby. Unfortunately tubal ligation failure pregnancies are not always good. They can be less of a blessing and more of a curse. Why? For many women tubal ligation failure pregnancies will be in the tube, cause the tube to rupture, and result in emergency surgery and prolonged hospitalization.
If a woman becomes pregnant after her tubes have been tied, she should see her doctor immediately to be evaluated for a ectopic pregnancy. Some tubal ligation pregnancies will be inside the uterus but a large percentage (80% to 90%) of them will be outside the uterus and in the tube. This is a condition that requires immediate evaluation and appropriate treatment.
Tubal Ligation Fistulization: What Is It?
Most times… like 99.9%…the fallopian tubes will be permanently closed after a tubal ligation procedure. Sometimes…when the tube heals…it may not heal completely closed and this small opening is called a fistula.
A fistula is a small opening which remains after the healing response has been completed. Just like when a piercing has been removed (nose, ear, or belly button)…sometimes the hole does not heal closed. This is called a fistula.
A fallopian tube fistula is a small opening allows sperm to get through. The sperm can easily find and fertilize an egg. The egg, on the other hand, is larger and may have a much harder time finding the small opening and getting back into the uterus.
You can best think of a fistula like a fish trap. A fish trap is wide on one end…and extremely narrow on the other end.
The wide end of the tube is the uterus side…the narrow small end is the side of the tube where the tube healed but a small opening remains. Millions and millions of sperm can easily enter the wide end and exit the small end of the tube. These sperm have no problem finding and fertilization the egg…but that larger egg then has to find the small opening.
The egg essentially has to ‘hit the bulls eye’.
Often pregnancies that occur because of tubal fistualization will be in the fallopian tube and will be ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies stuck in the fallopian tubes).
Many women will contact us after they become pregnant from tubal ligation failure. They will usually be diagnosed with ectopic pregnancies. A
fter treatment for the ectopic pregnancy is over, these women will often remember how their doctor told them tubal ligation was permanent…but then wonder why they got pregnant.
They will start to research how can they can get pregnant after tubal ligation and have that pregnancy be successful. This is usually when they found out about us and tubal reversal surgery.
If you did have tubal ligation failure…and your doctor treated your ectopic pregnancy with methotrexate then you could be a good candidate for tubal reversal surgery.
If your doctor removed your fallopian tube with the ectopic pregnancy then you still may be a good candidate for reversal surgery and have a good chance at pregnancy. We have had many patients become pregnant with reversal of one tube.
More information: Pregnancy after reversal of one fallopian tube
If your doctor removed both of your fallopian tubes to treat your ectopic pregnancy then you will need in-vitro fertilization to become pregnant.
What Are the Chances of Tubal Failure?
The largest study to date on tubal ligation failure is the CREST study. This study found that tubal ligation failures do occur and can be as high as 3% depending on the method of tubal closure.
Tubal ligation failures occured more often in women who had Hulka clip procedures and in younger women. These are the failure rates in the CREST study for the different methods of tubal ligation:
Unipolar coagulation (special type of burning..not common) 0.8%
Tubal rings 1.8%
Interval partial salpingectomy (tie and cut and remove small part of tube) 2.0%
Bipolar coagulation (Burning) 2.5%
Hulka clips 3.7%
Can You Have A Baby After A Tubal Ligation?
The possibility of pregnancy after tubal ligation is very real for many women who have had their tubes tied.
You could have a tubal ligation failure. The overall chance of a tubal ligation failure is low and most of those pregnancies will not be successful.
Don’t count on tubal ligation failure if you have had your tubes tied and want a baby. You have to get up, be proactive, and do something!
You could have in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. IVF can be pricey. A single treatment can cost greater than $10,000 and the average chance of success for each IVF cycle is about 30% to 40% and depends on the age of the woman.
You could have tubal reversal. Tubal reversal costs half as much as IVF and you can have more than one baby. Each month you have a chance and over time…those chances add up. The chance of getting pregnant after tubal reversal averages 60% to 70%.
More information: Cost of tubal reversal surgery
Chance Of Pregnancy After Tubal Reversal
The chances or pregnancy after tubal reversal are higher among women who have reversal in their twenties and early thirties and higher among women who have had tubal clip and tubal ring tubal ligation procedures.
More information: Chance of pregnancy after tubal reversal
Can You Get Pregnant After Tubal Ligation?
You can get pregnant after your tubes have been tied.
You can pray for tubal ligation failure. There is a small chance of a successful pregnancy (blessing) but a much larger chance of an ectopic pregnancy (curse). Prayer is always good but with tubal ligation failure you may end up with something you dont want.
If you become pregnant after a tubal ligation then you should see your doctor immediately to be evaluated for a tubal pregnancy.
If you really, really want a baby…. and are lucky enough to be reading article before getting evaluated by your doctor and trying to figure out what to do…then you should ask your doctor, if possible, to treat your ectopic pregnancy with methotrexate (saves your tubes) rather than surgery to remove your tubes (lessens the chances of reversal and natural pregnancy).
If you want to be pregnant and have a baby then you should not rely on the failure of a tubal ligation to achieve this for you.
Many women will find better and safer success in becoming pregnant after a tubal ligation though tubal ligation reversal surgery or IVF.
Need More Information About Reversal?
If you want to know if you are a candidate for tubal reversal surgery…then contact our office (919) 977-5050 for more information.
The best first step is to obtain a copy of your tubal ligation operative note from the hospital where you had your tubes tied. The hospital usually has your records but your doctor may not always keep your record in their office.
You can then send us your records by following the information on our Contact Us Page.
More information: Sending tubal ligation records