Women who have undergone a past tubal ligation, a procedure which uses various methods to block the fallopian tubes in order to prevent pregnancy, sometimes decide they would like to return their bodies to fertility through a tubal sterilization reversal. A tubal ligation reversal procedure attempts to surgically restore the fallopian tubes by attempting to connect the portions of the fallopian tubes, which had been blocked, to the remainder of the tubes in order to allow eggs to once again pass through for fertilization and implantation in the uterus.
What Does Tubal Sterilization Reversal Entail?
Tubal ligation reversal can be performed with various surgical techniques including laparotomy (open abdominal surgery), laparoscopic surgery, and with robotically assisted surgery. The method of surgery to be used will be determined through various exams which will evaluate the method which will produce the best results, giving the patient her best chance of achieving pregnancy following surgery. With any method, the surgery is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia at either a hospital or surgical center. Most women are typically able to return home the day of the procedure, but some will remain in the hospital at least overnight.
Roughly three to four months after completing the surgical procedure, our doctor will use an x-ray dye exam to determine whether or not the surgery successfully restored the patient’s fallopian tubes. Women who undergo tubal ligation reversal should wait at least two to three months after the procedure to attempt pregnancy in order to allow the fallopian tubes enough time to heal fully. Attempting pregnancy too soon could result in an ectopic pregnancy (implantation of the fertilized egg in the fallopian tube) which requires medical attention.
How Do I Know Whether I Am a Candidate for Tubal Sterilization Reversal?
To determine whether or not you are a candidate for a tubal ligation reversal, you will need to have a thorough physical exam with a fertility doctor. We first determine whether a patient is healthy enough to undergo general anesthesia, the surgical procedure, and to become pregnant with a physical evaluation. Factors such as the patient’s age, blood pressure, body mass index, and the presence of any health conditions could affect her candidacy.
Factors Which Affect Success After Tubal Ligation Reversal
If a patient is healthy enough for surgery, our fertility doctor will then evaluate several other factors which can affect the likelihood that a successful surgery will restore fertility to the patient. These factors include:
- patient’s age
- body mass index
- the amount of time which has passed since the original ligation procedure
- health of the fallopian tubes
- length of the remaining fallopian tubes
- the method of ligation which was used
- additional conditions which might affect fertility such as scarring, endometriosis, or fibroid tumors
- viability of the patient’s eggs and her partner’s sperm
Tubal ligations are performed in various ways which can affect the success of a reversal procedure. Methods which use rings or clamps to block the tubes cause less scarring than other methods. As a result, patients with these types of tubal ligations will have less scar tissue and a higher success rate.
If you discover you are not a candidate for a tubal ligation reversal, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is still a viable possibility. During an IVF procedure, eggs are removed directly from the ovaries, fertilized, and then inserted directly into the uterus, completely bypassing the fallopian tubes. A fertility doctor can help you determine the method of fertility (tubal ligation reversal or IVF) which will be right for you.
Schedule a Fertility Consultation
Women’s individual reasons for originally having a tubal ligation and wishing to reverse the procedure vary greatly. As a personal aspect of the decision, the reasons behind these choices need not be a part of the discussion with our fertility doctor, unless the patient wishes to discuss them. The main focus of a tubal ligation reversal consultation appointment is to determine whether the patient is a medically fit candidate to undergo the reversal procedure and to determine the likelihood that the procedure will be successful. If you are considering tubal sterilization reversal, we encourage you to begin the process by contacting Viera Fertility Center to schedule a consultation with our fertility doctor.