Can You Get Pregnant After a Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is surgery to remove a female's uterus. Sometimes the cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes are also removed. Because the uterus, or womb, is where a baby grows during pregnancy, a successful pregnancy after hysterectomy is not possible.

Whether for medical or personal reasons, hysterectomies are common. One in three women in the U.S. has a hysterectomy by age 60. The decision is not one people take lightly, as it, among its effects, permanently eliminates one's ability to have a child.

How to Have Kids After a Hysterectomy

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Ectopic Pregnancy After Hysterectomy

While having a hysterectomy generally means that someone is sterile and unable to conceive a child, in very rare cases someone who has had a hysterectomy will experience ovulation and subsequent fertilization via an abnormal situation known as an ectopic pregnancy.

Also known as a tubal pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, most often in a fallopian tube. An ectopic pregnancy is only possible if the hysterectomy leaves at least one fallopian tube and one ovary intact.

With an ectopic pregnancy, ovulation and fertilization may occur, but there is essentially no chance of a fetus surviving. Without a uterus to support the birth, it is next to impossible to carry to term.

Ectopic pregnancy can become life-threatening as the fetus continues to grow, stressing tissues not intended for pregnancy and eventually causing a major rupture and internal hemorrhage. The first sign is usually excruciating abdominal pain.

After diagnosis, a doctor will typically prescribe medication (methotrexate) to eliminate the fetal cells. If that is ineffective, surgical removal of the pregnancy and repair of the fallopian tube may be done via laparoscopy. However, if there is an active rupture or the risk of one occurring, emergency surgery (laparotomy) may be needed.

Having a Child After Hysterectomy

If you want to have children but you need a hysterectomy for medical reasons, it is still possible to start a family. This will, however, mean you won't be able to carry the pregnancy yourself.

One option is to have your eggs harvested for future fertilization and implantation in a surrogate. Harvesting can be done before the surgery if the ovaries are to be removed, or after if the ovaries are to remain intact. While a surrogate will carry the child, it will be your biological child.

If egg harvesting is not possible or you do not wish to go that route, there are other options. A male partner may provide sperm for a surrogate pregnancy, either of a donor egg or the surrogate's egg. A female partner may carry a pregnancy resulting from her egg being fertilized. You may also consider adopting a child as an alternative.

A Word From Verywell

Pregnancy after a hysterectomy is extremely rare, but when it does happen it, is considered a life-threatening medical emergency. If you want to become pregnant, you will need to do so prior to having a hysterectomy, as it will no longer be possible to bear children after the surgery.

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  1. Babalola EO, Bharucha AE, Schleck CD, Gebhart JB, Zinsmeister AR, Melton LJ. Decreasing utilization of hysterectomy: a population-based study in Olmsted County, Minnesota, 1965-2002. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007;196(3):214.e1-7. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2006.10.390

  2. Fylstra DL. Ectopic pregnancy after hysterectomy may not be so uncommon: A case report and review of the literature. Case Rep Womens Health. 2015;7:8-11. doi:10.1016/j.crwh.2015.04.001

  3. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. Ectopic pregnancy. February 2018.

  4. American Cancer Society. Preserving fertility in women with cancer. Updated February 6, 2020.

Additional Reading
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Women’s reproductive health. Updated April 28, 2020.

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health. Hysterectomy. Updated April 1, 2019.