Tubal Ligation Reversal

More than 650,000 women undergo tubal ligation in the United States annually, thus ending their ability to have children. What happens when circumstances change and a woman decides that she really does want to become pregnant?

Approximately six percent of women who originally decided that tubal ligation was the way to end their childbearing years will, within five years, decide that she does indeed want to experience pregnancy and the birth of a new baby.

Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome

Sometimes, tubal ligation reversal is desired not for the purpose of having children, but to reverse the effects experienced by many women of post tubal ligation syndrome. The symptoms of post tubal ligation syndrome may include:

Success Rates

Several factors play a key role in the success rate of tubal ligation reversal. These include:

  • The type of tubal ligation procedure originally performed.
  • The age of the woman at the time she seeks tubal ligation reversal, women over 40 should discuss their personal chances of achieving success with their health care provider before choosing tubal ligation reversal.
  • The amount of damage caused by the original tubal ligation procedure directly correlates to the possible success of the tubal reversal procedure.

Women who make the best candidates for tubal ligation reversal are those whose tubal ligations included either the removal of a small section of the fallopian tubes, or those whose tubal ligation was achieved by clips or rings placed around the tubes to prevent eggs released during ovulation from traveling through the fallopian tubes. Overall, success rates for tubal ligation reversal can vary from 20 percent to 70 percent.

Tubal Reversal Procedures

Before your health care provider can advise you about the potential for successful tubal ligation reversal, you will need to provide him with all the facts and records from your tubal ligation procedure. The type of tubal ligation procedure used will determine the best procedure for tubal reversal and have a major impact on your chance of success.

The tubal ligation reversal procedure uses microsurgery to rejoin the two remaining sections of the fallopian tubes. Certain factors have a direct effect on the potential for a successful tubal reversal procedure. Because the fallopian tube's diameter varies from one end to the other, the best chance for success occurs when the diameters of the two remaining sections of the fallopian tube are almost identical.

In cases where the two remaining ends of the tubes are of different diameter (for example, a narrow end of the tube close to the uterus is being connected to a wider end near the end of the fallopian tube), success rates for pregnancy are lower.

The ideal candidate for tubal ligation reversal is a woman who has a nearly equal diameter of the remaining ends of the tubal sections, and whose tubes are at least three to four inches long following reversal of the tubal ligation. (Before tubal ligation the fallopian tubes are approximately eight inches long.)

The decision to undergo tubal ligation reversal should be carefully weighed against the potential for successful in vitro fertilization. Women who have little chance of successful tubal reversal should be advised to consider in vitro fertilization.

You should discuss your personal situation with your health care provider to determine your best option for achieving successful pregnancy either by tubal ligation reversal or in vitro fertilization.

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Article Sources

  • Birth Control. Healthywomen.org.