There are myriad reasons why women choose a tubal ligation. They may feel that they don’t want any more children. They may have health problems that make pregnancy dangerous. They may have a partner who refuses to use birth control. But times change. Health care changes. Even partners change. This leaves many women questioning whether they want more children and whether their procedure can be reversed. Dr. John Macey has helped many women reverse their tubal ligation and change their fertility, but the reversal procedure isn’t right for everyone. To understand whether or not you are a candidate for reversal, it’s important to understand the first procedure.
Tubal ligation is a procedure designed to stop the egg from traveling down the Fallopian tubes to the uterus. In the process, it also prevents the sperm from traveling up the Fallopian tubes and fertilizing the egg. Though women commonly call it “getting your tubes tied,” in fact, some methods don’t involve tying the Fallopian tubes as all. Even though there are many different procedures, they fall into three general categories.
In banding or clamping, the surgeon closes the Fallopian tube with a small metal or plastic clamp. In some cases the surgeon folds the tube over, much like crimping a garden hose, before applying the clamp. In other cases, the surgeon simply puts a clamp tightly around the Fallopian tube to close it.
Other options include a variety of ways to use scar tissue to close the tubes. In electrical sterilization, the doctor will administer a small electric current to burn the tubes closed. In hysteroscopic sterilization, the doctor places a tiny metal spring in the Fallopian tubes to irritate them and force the body to create scar tissue that closes the tubes.
Finally, the doctor can completely remove the Fallopian tubes, making it impossible for the egg to travel to the uterus.
Prospects for reversal
It’s important to know what type of procedure you have undergone to understand your chances at a successful reversal. Women who have clamped or banded procedures have the best chance at a full reversal. If the tube was left undamaged by the first procedure and the doctor is able to remove the clamp without damage, then full fertility is possible.
When the tubes are burned or scarred, the likelihood of full reversal drops. In order to reverse the first procedure, the doctor must remove the scarred area. If the area is extensive, the two healthy pieces of the tube may become too short to meet. In addition, any resection of the tubes can lead to additional scarring that might block the Fallopian tubes, making it difficult or impossible for the egg to reach the uterus.
Finally, if the Fallopian tubes have been removed, there is no chance to reverse the procedure. Currently, there is no way to replace missing Fallopian tubes.
Most women who want to reverse a tubal ligation don’t want to just know that everything is working. They want to get pregnant. However, fertility depends on more than just your Fallopian tubes. Age, hormonal changes, and your partner’s sperm health all affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant and carry a child to term.
So, what are the odds?
A 2017 study found that a little more than half, or 55%, of women who had a successful tubal reversal carried a baby to term. This is a hopeful sign for women who want to get pregnant after undergoing tubal ligation.
If you are considering a tubal reversal, but aren’t sure if you’re a good candidate, give Dr. Macey a call. Together you can go over your medical history, and he can help you decide if a tubal reversal, and a baby, are in your future.