In many cases, women choose not to have any more children. They decide on tubal ligation as a form of birth control - and then they change their minds. Tubal ligation, commonly referred to as “getting your tubes tied,” involves closing the fallopian tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus. The tubes can be cut, clipped, tied, cauterized or non-surgically blocked.
Changing Your Mind After Tubal Ligation
Many women change their minds after the surgery is done. In fact, some 25% of women who get their tubes tied then want to get a tubal reversal. The most common reason is a change in perspectives. Changes in situation are another reason: the death of a child, the death of your spouse or re-marriage may all signal women to opt for tubal reversal surgery.
If you do change your mind and want to conceive, it is recommended that you seriously consider tubal ligation reversal as opposed to in vitro fertilization (IVF). Tubal ligation reversal has a higher pregnancy rate than IVF. It is also less costly.
Tubal Reversal Surgery
Reversal surgery is very similar to ligation surgery, except that the tubes are unclamped during tubal reversal. The success of this procedure does depend on whether your tubes were cauterized; reversal may be unfeasible as the lining of the fallopian tubes may have been damaged.
In the US, both clinics and hospitals offer this procedure. Some hospitals, however, require that patients remain hospitalized for two to five days after the procedure and full recovery can take from four to six weeks.
More than two thirds of women who undergo tubal ligation reversal report conceiving within a year. In fact, many women are able to get pregnant within six months after the procedure. There is, however, a higher risk for an ectopic pregnancy after surgery. As soon as you notice late menstruation, take a test to ascertain whether you’re pregnant. If the test is positive, get your doctor to perform a test to confirm that this is not a tubal pregnancy.
Revision date: July 5, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD