It is common to change our minds about things. We might decide we want spaghetti instead of tacos for dinner. We might even decide on spaghetti tacos (that is a thing). However, it becomes a little more complicated when the decision is regarding having children and permanent birth control has already been put in place. A common form of permanent birth is tubal ligation or as most people refer to it “tying your tubes.” In this procedure, the fallopian tubes are cut and tied. By doing so, eggs can no longer travel down the fallopian tubes and no sperm can climb up the fallopian tubes to reach the egg. This will prevent any contact from occuring between the two gametes.
Is it permanent?
You might have noticed we said “permanent.” For the most part that is true. Once a woman undergoes tubal ligation, she does not need to worry about an unwanted pregnancy from that point onwards. Is it possible to reverse this procedure? In fact, it is! This does not necessarily mean that you are guaranteed a pregnancy after reversal. In fact, only approximately 50-80% of women become pregnant after reversing the ligation.
Why might IVF not work after tubal ligation?
There are several reasons for this. One of them is that when trying to undo the procedure, the stumps left after the procedure are beyond repair and scarred. Another reason is the development of another condition such as pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis. Lastly, it might not have anything to do with your body. Your partner’s sperm count or motility could be very low. Yes, male factor infertility is a thing. Infertility is not only a woman’s problem.
Ectopic pregnancies might occur after the reversal procedure. This is when the egg implants itself in the fallopian tube rather than the uterus. The chances of this happening post-reversal is 10% and the consequences could be fatal. Age is another factor. Women in their 40s have lower chances of conceiving and IVF is not recommended. Even if there are no complications witht he reversal, low egg reserve may end up preventing a pregnancy. Nevertheless, IVF will increase the chances of a successful pregnancy after tubal ligation rather than trying to conceive naturally.
Our final thoughts
IVF is expensive and tubal ligation is essentially a surgery that will also cost money. When making these decisions, make sure you are financially planning ahead of time. Whether you think the risk is worth it is completely up to you. No one is able to gauge the benefit of taking risks regarding your fertility except you. You will know what choice is right and not another individual. IVF after tubal ligation is a complicated topic. Every woman’s body is different and as we have seen even with a successful reversal of the ligation, the development of certain conditions and as a woman ages, the chances of pregnancy may decrease. Make sure you confide in your reproductive endocrinologist to find what is best for you. If you have not had ligation done yet, and are not sure if you want it, also confide in your doctor and they can walk you through the pros and cons of the different options. It’s a tricky road to navigate, but not impossible!
“Tubal Ligation | Johns Hopkins Medicine.” https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/tubal-ligation. Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.