Can I Conceive After Tubal Ligation Reversal? Is Pregnancy Possible?
Most people say that “getting your tubes tied” is permanent—but that’s not always the case.
Sometimes, women who’ve decided they no longer want kids, change their mind. In this case, some women are eligible for a surgery that can make fallopian tubes functional again. This way, the sperm can fertilize your egg and you can become pregnant.
In this post, we’ll discuss the tubal ligation reversal procedure and how likely pregnancy is after it’s completed.
What is Tubal Ligation Reversal?
Tubal ligation—also known as “getting your tubes tied”—is a procedure that works as a form of permanent birth control. If a woman doesn’t want more children or didn’t want them in the first place, it’s easier and more effective for her to get the procedure done than to use birth control.
When a woman gets her tubes tied, the doctor makes an incision in her abdomen to cut, band or clamp the fallopian tubes. This makes it so that sperm can’t reach the eggs.
If a woman changes her mind and wants children after the procedure, she can have a tubal ligation reversal. For the surgery, the patient is given a general anesthesia. The surgeon will make an incision and reopen, untie or reconnect the fallopian tubes (depending on your original procedure). After this, sperm should be able to reach the eggs. The surgery lasts around 2-3 hours and is more complicated than getting your tubes tied.
Unfortunately, tubal reversal isn’t usually covered by health insurance. Although costs vary, it typically costs several thousand dollars. The average cost of a reversal in the U.S. is $8,685 but can go up to $21,000, according to Healthline. You should also keep in mind any costs associated with the procedure, such as medication, tests and hospital fees.
Is Tubal Reversal Right for Me?
Not everyone is an ideal candidate for reversal. Some surgeons say it’s best if the woman is under 40 and had their tubes tied immediately following labor (postpartum tubal ligation). The type of procedure you had is important, too. Typically, tubal reversal can be a good decision if your tubes were closed with clips or rings or if only small parts were removed.
If you have your tubes tied and are interested in a reversal, you should speak with your doctor to see if the procedure is recommended. That answer can depend on:
- Your age
- Your overall health and the health of your reproductive organs
- The type of tubal ligation you had and where they were tied
- The experiences/complications during any past pregnancies
If you’re contemplating getting the procedure, your doctor will do some tests to determine the health of your ovaries and fallopian tubes. If you want to get pregnant, you may also consider having your partner do some fertility tests to make sure he’s fertile, too. After all, you don’t want to go through surgery only to figure out you can’t have a baby anyway.
If you’re eligible and decide to go ahead with the procedure, you’ll want to choose a qualified surgeon. This is because your chances of getting pregnant afterward may depend on his or her skills. To assess their skill level, ask them how many years they’ve been doing the procedure and how many they complete each year. You can also ask if they have any special qualifications for it or what their pregnancy success rate is.
How Soon After Tubal Reversal Can I Conceive?
The good news is that as long as you and your partner are healthy, you can likely conceive after tubal ligation reversal. Pregnancy success rates after reversal are anywhere from 40-80%. Women age 35 and under have a 70-80% pregnancy success rate, whereas those over 40 have a 30-40% chance. Most of these pregnancies happen within the first year.
If you’re considering a tubal reversal, you may be wondering how soon after the procedure you can start trying. If all goes as planned, you can start having sex after your first or second period. However, this may also depend on your comfort level since your abdomen will be sore for a few weeks. Your tubes should be fully healed about a month after surgery. It’s possible to get pregnant the first month after trying.
Although these are general guidelines, your doctor will assess how your surgery went and tell you when it’s safe.
If you haven’t gotten pregnant within the first 3-6 months, your doctor may recommend an X-ray dye test to make sure your fallopian tubes are open.
One of the best ways to increase your chances of pregnancy is to become knowledgeable about ovulation timing and fertility planning. Using the tips outlined in these posts can help guide you on the best times to have sex when you’re trying to conceive.
There are also a variety of other things you can do to boost you and your partner’s fertility. Whether you’ve already had a reversal surgery or are getting one in the future, you can get started with most of these tips right now:
- Essential Oils for Fertility
- 9 Ways to De-stress While Trying to Conceive
- Trying to Conceive with Irregular Periods? Here’s How
- 7 Fertility Boosting Vitamins & Nutrients
- Food to Increase Libido and Make a Baby
- 6 Ways to Strengthen His Sperm
- 8 Tips You’ll Actually Use To Stop Smoking Before Pregnancy
- Alcohol and Conception: Should You Stop Drinking?
Symptoms of Pregnancy after Tubal Ligation Reversal
The signs of pregnancy after a tubal reversal are the same as the signs for any pregnancy:
- Missed period
- Tender breasts
- Nausea or dizziness
- Changes in food preferences
- Mood swings
If you suspect pregnancy, you can take a pregnancy test and then have your doctor confirm it.
You should know that a tubal reversal increases your chances of ectopic pregnancy, which is when the embryo attaches outside of the uterus. This complication is life-threatening to you and means that the baby can’t live. If an ectopic pregnancy is caught early, it may be treated without surgery.
If you’re pregnant, look for these signs of an ectopic pregnancy:
- Missed period
- Vaginal bleeding
- Other pregnancy symptoms (nausea, tender breasts, etc.)
- Weakness or a feeling of passing out (this could be serious and you should seek medical attention ASAP)
Since many of these signs also indicate a healthy pregnancy, it can be hard to tell. For this reason, you should talk to your doctor about the next steps after you’ve missed your period. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor beforehand about the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy and how you should determine the difference.
What if I Can’t Conceive After Tubal Reversal?
Not everyone who has the procedure is able to get pregnant. Your likelihood of getting pregnant depends on the same factors as every woman:
- Your age
- You and your partner’s overall health and fertility
- Scar tissue in the pelvic area
- Surgeon’s skill during reversal
If you can’t get pregnant after the procedure, you have some options:
- IVF— In vitro fertilization (IVF) requires the egg and sperm to be fertilized outside of the womb and then to be placed inside the womb. Since your fallopian tubes aren’t needed, this can also be a good option if you’re not eligible for a reversal. Even if you are eligible, IVF may be a better option than tubal reversal for women over 40. If you’re not interested in IVF, you may want to check out our post on 4 Alternative Fertility Treatments.
- Fertility drugs— Your doctor may prescribe fertility drugs such as Clomid or Femara, which can be taken orally to induce ovulation. If you have ovulation problems, this is a good option.
- Adoption— If having children isn’t an option, you may want to consider adopting. You can find out more information here. If you’re wondering if adoption is right for you, here are 7 things to consider.
- Surrogacy— Surrogacy is when another woman gives birth to the baby, but it will be in your care after. There are two ways this can be done. The surrogate can be artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm. Another option is to use IVF to fertilize your egg with your partner’s sperm and then place it in the surrogate. The second option means that the baby will share both you and your partner’s genetics.
Have you had tubal reversal surgery? If so, let us know how your procedure went in the comments below. If you have any friends that are considering the procedure, send this post to them, too.
P.S. When you get pregnant, you need to try a fetal doppler. These devices allow you to listen to your baby’s heartbeat at home. They’re simple to use and can help ease anxieties about whether your baby is okay. To learn more about fetal dopplers click here or check out our shop.