Birth control is one big issue for couples who do not want children for some time and this is the reason they look for safe, convenient and effective birth control measures. At the same time, it is feasible to know what would be their chance of conceiving once they want children and how soon it can happen after they discontinue with birth control.

Couples who no longer want children can go for permanent measures like tubal ligation, but there have been cases where they regret the decision later. Now the question is whether pregnancy is possible after tubal ligation or not. Fortunately, the answer is yes but things are not as simple as they would have been if some other birth control measure had been used. Here is all you need to know about tubal ligation and pregnancy after it.

What is tubal ligation?

As the name suggests, tubal ligation is a surgical procedure which involves cutting or tying up of the fallopian tubes so that they lose their functionality and the woman is no longer able to conceive. Primarily, fallopian tubes play a key role in pregnancy as they carry the egg from the ovary to the uterus, during which it may be fertilized by a sperm for conception to take place. When tubal ligation is done, the tubes are mechanically blocked and the egg is no longer able to be fertilized and travel down to the uterus and pregnancy becomes practically impossible.

One of the most trustworthy birth control measures, tubal ligation is done as an outpatient procedure and is regarded as a permanent contraceptive measure. Despite being highly effective as a birth control method, there is still a probability of pregnancy after tubal ligation, even if it is a remote one (1 in 200 woman  may conceive after the surgery). At the same time, some couples may later change their decision and want a child at some point of time after the procedure has been done. Whether planned or accidental, pregnancy after tubal ligation is possible though there are some complications involved.

Unplanned pregnancy after tubal ligation

Though tubal ligation is regarded as one of the most effective contraceptive measures, there are still chances of pregnancy as the fallopian tubes are capable of growing back together. The younger the woman, the greater is the risk of the procedure being a failure and unplanned pregnancy taking place. Failure of tubal ligation surgery is characterized by incomplete closure of the tubes which can be the result of surgical error. This is a possibility in case of excessive scarring caused by endometriosis in the fallopian tubes, when the tubes may not be well detected by the surgeon for the surgery to be a success.

Another reason of failure of tubal ligation is that the woman may already have been pregnant at the time the surgery had been performed; the embryo may have implanted itself in the uterus but the pregnancy may not have been established yet. In addition to the pregnancy being unplanned, what makes things worse is that there is high risk of it being an ectopic pregnancy.

An ectopic or tubal pregnancy is the one which establishes itself in the fallopian tube rather than the uterus and is a potentially life-threatening condition if allowed to go full-term. The pregnancy has to be removed before it grows to a size that can lead to the rupture of the fallopian tube, which can have serious consequences like internal bleeding and shock. At the same time, there are chances that a normal, full term pregnancy may proceed despite the woman undergoing tubal ligation. Once the woman experiences symptoms of pregnancy, she needs to see a gynecologist immediately to rule out the possibility of ectopic pregnancy.

Tubal Ligation Reversal and IVF- Options after tubal ligation

Unplanned pregnancy after tubal ligation may put the woman in a fix, but some others may actually want to bear children a few years after the procedure. There are two options for such women:

Tubal ligation reversal, also known as tubal re-anastomosis, is a surgical procedure that reverses the ligtation. The surgeon will rejoin the severed ends of the tube to restore their functionality so that the woman can go through normal, natural pregnancy once again. The success rate of this procedure goes as high as 25-80%, and women in their twenties are have better chances of getting pregnant.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the second option for women who have undergone tubal ligation and would rather go for assisted reproduction that rely on natural conception after reversal of the surgery. IVF involves fertilization of eggs with sperms in a lab dish and placing the embryo so formed in the uterus for implantation to take place. The method again has a healthy success rate that goes up to 50% and it saves the woman from undergoing the major surgical procedure involving tubal ligation reversal. On the other hand, IVF involves the risk of multiple pregnancies and high cost.

Some parameters that determine the success of both these options are the quality and quantity of eggs and sperms, maternal age, tubal status and overall maternal health. A woman who wants to explore these options should first consult an expert specialist and weigh the pros and cons of both before deciding which one would work best for her.

Gaudium IVF is one of the top IVF clinics in India and is renowned for offering advanced treatment and care for female infertility, along with resolution for variety of gynecological issues. It also brings cost effective solutions for patients facing complications such as pregnancy after tubal ligation.

For a free second opinion and expert advice from the leading infertility specialist Dr Manika Khanna, contact today.