During a tubal ligation reversal, surgeons repair or reconnect the fallopian tubes. The procedure allows a person’s eggs to once again move through the tubes and into the uterus for fertilization.
This article will look at who is suitable for the procedure, the success rate, and the risks that doctors associate with this surgery.
Not every person who would like a tubal ligation reversal is suitable for the procedure.
Other factors that might influence a person’s eligibility for the reversal include:
- type of sterilization procedure they underwent
- when sterilization occurred
- quality of a person’s eggs
If the tubal ligation reversal does go ahead, a person will need a general anesthetic. Anyone thinking about undergoing surgery should be aware of the risks.
Other factors that might make someone more vulnerable to complications include:
Before the procedure, the person will likely have a detailed conversation with a doctor.
The doctor will take a full medical history and explain the risks. They may also suggest testing the individual’s eggs to check that pregnancy would be possible after surgery.
During the procedure, the surgeon typically uses a camera and robotic tools to enter the body through a small cut in the abdomen. Sometimes, they may make a larger incision and expose the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus.
The surgeon will then remove any clips or blockages and cut away any damaged tissue from the fallopian tubes. To repair the tubes, they will use absorbable stitches that dissolve on their own in time.
An individual can go home the next day and should avoid pregnancy for 2 months for safety reasons.
The doctor may ask a person to attend a follow-up appointment to check that they are healing well.
How much does it cost?
In 2014, the average cost of the procedure was roughly $8,685. However, the price may vary or have changed.
People who undergo a tubal ligation reversal may be unable to become pregnant afterward.
One study following 27 people who underwent the procedure shows that the pregnancy rate is 55.5%. Also, it took an average of 9 months after the surgery for pregnancy to occur.
The success rate may depend on several factors, including:
- Age: According to a 2015 study, those who had the surgery before 40 years of age had a 50% chance of delivering a child. The chances halve after a person reaches 40 years old.
- Weight: According to an older 2003 study, those with a body mass index (BMI) less than or equal to 25 had an 85.4% chance of achieving pregnancy, compared with a 65.9% chance of those with a BMI over 25.
- Time after sterilization: According to the same 2003 study, those who had the procedure less than 8 years previously had a higher chance of becoming pregnant compared with those who had it more than 8 years ago.
People who undergo a tubal ligation reversal are at a higher risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy. This type of pregnancy is when a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube.
As the embryo grows, it can rupture the fallopian tube. This is a life threatening condition and requires immediate medical attention.
One study found that between 4% and 8% of women who had a sterilization reversal procedure went on to develop an ectopic pregnancy.
Other risks doctors associate with having the surgery may include:
- injury to nearby organs
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an alternative to tubal ligation reversal.
People who choose this option can take medication that stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs. Doctors then remove these from the body and use a partner’s sperm to fertilize them in the laboratory. The doctor will then implant the embryos in the uterus.
The whole process of IVF bypasses the need for fallopian tubes.
Another older 2007 Belgium study that compared both options found that sterilization reversal was usually more successful for females 37 years of age and under.
In contrast, the study suggested that IVF was likely to work better for older women.
Tubal ligation reversal is possible but not always straightforward. It is not right for everyone and does not guarantee fertility.
Success depends on several factors, including the woman’s age, medical history, and the type of sterilization they underwent originally.
Surgeons use a general anesthetic during the procedure, which always has risks. Reversal can also increase a person’s chances of experiencing an ectopic pregnancy.