Is Pregnancy Possible After a Hysterectomy?

If you have had a hysterectomy or you are considering having a hysterectomy, you may be wondering if you can become pregnant after the surgery is complete. The simple answer is no, it is not possible to become pregnant after a hysterectomy. As such, you will no longer need birth control, and there is no chance you will have children.

While this generally means that you are sterile (unable to conceive), around one of every million women who has had a hysterectomy will experience ovulation and subsequent fertilization via an abnormal situation known as an ectopic pregnancy.

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

An ectopic pregnancy is only possible if the hysterectomy leaves at least one fallopian tube and one ovary intact.

Understanding Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy (also known as a tubal pregnancy) occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, most often in the fallopian tube. The condition 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 an excruciating abdominal pain.

Ectopic pregnancy represents about between 1 percent and 2 percent of all pregnancies with 95 percent occurring in the fallopian tube. Abdominal pregnancies, in which the fetus implants on the wall of the abdomen, represent about 1 percent of ectopic pregnancies. In most cases, the fetus will not develop beyond 37 weeks of gestation.

A rare exception occurred in 2011 in which a British woman diagnosed with an abdominal pregnancy at 20 weeks was able to deliver the baby to term. It was only one of three such cases documented in the United Kingdom in over 20 years.

However an ectopic pregnancy occurs, it will be considered non-viable and potentially dangerous to the mother. If diagnosed, the doctor will typically prescribe the drug methotrexate to eliminate the fetal cells. Emergency surgery may be needed if there is an active rupture or the risk of one.

Fertility Options After Hysterectomy

If you want to have children but you need a hysterectomy for medical reasons, you can 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

A Word From Verywell

Pregnancy after a hysterectomy is so rare that it is nearly impossible with one in a million odds, but when it does happen it is typically considered a medical emergency as it can be a life-threatening medical problem.

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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