How to Know If Tubal Reversal Is Right for You

Tubal ligation (having your tubes “tied”) prevents pregnancy by tying, cutting or cauterizing your fallopian tubes thus preventing sperm and egg from meeting. Fertilization, and therefore pregnancy, cannot take place when you have a tubal ligation.

In the US alone approximately 700,000 tubal ligations take place annually. The effectiveness rate, at 99%, makes this method of birth control a hassle-free one. That’s why so many females opt for raw procedure.

But what happens if you change your mind and determine you want more children? Can you reverse your tubal ligation? And if so does the procedure restore fertility? Let’s take a look at tubal reversal procedures and how they impact your fertility going forward. We’ll find out if tubal reversal is right for you.


What is A Tubal Reversal?

Reversing your tubal ligation involves a surgical procedure whereby your physician reopens, unties or reconnects your fallopian tubes. By doing this your doctor creates a path for egg and sperm to meet. Ideally you’ll return, fertility-wise, to your pre-tubal ligation state. After tubal ligation you really only have two options for pregnancy; tubal reversal and IVF.


Who is A Good Candidate for Reversal?

There are a few different criteria that make you a possible candidate for tubal reversal surgery. Of course, every patient is unique and ultimately the decision is left to you and your doctor. The factors which increase your odds for success are:

  • Maternal Age: You’re likely aware that age plays a huge role in your chance for conception. As you age your ovarian reserve diminishes. Your odds for pregnancy would drop with or without tubal ligation. The risk for miscarriage and congenital disorders also increases with your age.


  • Underlying Risks for Infertility: Underlying risks for infertility such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, PCOS and even auto-immune conditions may prevent pregnancy even after tubal reversal.


  • Your Partner’s Reproductive Health: A semen analysis may indicate your partner’s sperm insufficient or abnormal for fertilization.


  • The Type of Tubal Ligation Procedure: Of course, your doctor will make their decision based on your previous procedure to “tie” your tubes. If your doctor used clips or ties to block your tubes the reversal process is easier than if they cauterized your fallopian tubes.


  • Length of Fallopian Tubes: Reconnecting your tubes depends on the length of remaining tube segments.



What Tubal Ligation Procedure Prevents Reversal

Removal of all or most of the fallopian tubes means reversal isn’t possible. And for those whose tubal ligation took place over a decade ago, using specific sterilization devices which, once inserted into the fallopian tubes, blocked sperm from reaching your egg, reversal is not an option. (Note: the FDA took these devices off the market in 2019.)

If the above tubal procedures apply to you, don’t lose hope! IVF is an option for you and your partner. Fallopian tubes aren’t necessary for IVF success.


The Procedure

Having your tubal ligation reversed typically is not a complicated endeavor. Your doctor performs the surgery as an outpatient procedure, and you generally go home the same day. The surgery takes about three hours.

Of course, the type of procedure depends on your personal situation but very often this is a laparoscopic procedure. Your doctor makes a small incision below your bikini line and, using a laparoscope, re-attaches your fallopian tubes. Here is a basic step-by-step of the typical procedure.


  • The doctor administers anesthesia so you are asleep for your tubal reversal surgery. You also have a catheter to collect your urine during your procedure.


  • Typically, your doctor makes one incision but, depending on the type of procedure your doctor may make several small incisions.


  • The doctor uses the laparoscope as they assess your tubes and determine whether tubal ligation reversal is an option. If it is your doctor proceeds immediately with the procedure.


  • Next your doctor injects dye into your uterus and observes the dye flow through your fallopian tubes ensuring no blockage.


  • The doctor closes and bandages your incisions and you go to recovery.


  • You’re observed while in recovery and as soon as the doctor gives you the OK you’re released to the care of your spouse, friend or family member who brought you to the hospital for your surgery.


  • You continue recovery at home where you may experience pain and soreness at the site of the incision(s). Your doctor will likely prescribe pain medication and something for an upset stomach as everyone reacts differently to anesthesia.


  • Most patients resume their normal activities within two weeks following surgery.


As we said, this is simply an overview. You and your doctor discuss in detail the procedure as it applies to your personal details.


Your Future Outlook for Pregnancy

According to studies published by the NIH, the pregnancy rates after tubal reversal vary from 57% to 84%. Several factors influence your success such as age, tubal ligation procedure, length of your fallopian tubes and your overall fertility health (and that of your partner).

Doctors recommend waiting two menstrual cycles before trying to conceive. Pregnancy typically occurs within two years of surgery. For those who don’t conceive within the two-year mark or those for whom the procedure was not possible there is IVF.


We’re Here to Help

Tubal reversal can help restore your fertility after a tubal ligation. It’s a safe surgery and relatively easy recovery. If you’re considering tubal reversal please contact LA IVF.