Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure in which a woman's fallopian tubes are blocked, cut, or sealed to prevent her eggs from travelling from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes, where they could be fertilized by a sperm.
Tubal ligation is a highly effective form of birth control that is almost always permanent. Reversing a tubal ligation by reattaching the cut or sealed ends of the tubes is a major surgery.
The success of surgery to reverse a tubal ligation depends on:
- The tubal ligation method that was originally used. Clips and rings (such as the Hulka clip, Filshie clip, and Falope rings) are successfully reversed the most often. Electrocautery is least likely to be successfully reversed.
- Time. The less time that has passed since the tubal ligation was done, the more likely it is that the reversal surgery will be successful.
- Condition of the tubes. The more the tubes are damaged, the less likely the reversal is to be successful.
Depending on the method used for tubal ligation and how much of the fallopian tube is damaged after tubal ligation, success rates for reversals are about 70% to 80%.footnote 1
Women who have had a tubal ligation reversed have a higher-than-average risk of a fertilized egg implanting in the fallopian tube (ectopic pregnancy) rather than in the uterus. This can become a life-threatening emergency.
Other considerations about having a tubal ligation reversed include the following:
- The surgery takes several hours, and most women are hospitalized for at least 2 days.
- The surgery can cost more than $10,000. The cost is not covered by most provincial health plans or private health insurance plans.
- There is no guarantee that you will be able to become pregnant after having the reversal.
- Surgeons usually refuse to perform the surgery if they think there is little chance that it will be successful.
- About half of the women who request reversal are turned down.
- About half of the women who have the surgery will become pregnant.
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC, FACOG - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology
Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofNovember 21, 2017
Current as of: November 21, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC, FACOG - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology & Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology