Skip to content

Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

Font Size

Tubal Ligation Reversal - Topic Overview

Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure in which a woman's fallopian tubes are blocked, cut, or sealed to prevent her eggs from traveling 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.

Recommended Related to Infertility & Reproduction

Irregular Periods and Getting Pregnant

Irregular or abnormal ovulation accounts for 30% to 40% of all cases of infertility. Having irregular periods, no periods, or abnormal bleeding often indicates that you aren't ovulating, a condition known clinically as anovulation. Although anovulation can usually be treated with fertility drugs, it is important to be evaluated for other conditions that could interfere with ovulation, such as thyroid conditions or abnormalities of the adrenal or pituitary glands.

Read the Irregular Periods and Getting Pregnant article > >

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%.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. Most insurance companies do not pay for the procedure. And it is not covered by U.S. government programs such as Medicaid or military health insurance.
  • 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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: May 03, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Four pregnant women standing in a row
    How much do you know about conception?
    Couple with surrogate mother
    Which one is right for you?
     
    couple lying in grass holding hands
    Why Dad's health matters.
    couple viewing positive pregnancy test
    6 ways to improve your chances.
     
    Which Treatment Is Right For You
    Slideshow
    Conception Myths
    Article
     
    eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
    Video
    Conception
    Slideshow
     
    Charting Your Fertility Cycle
    Article
    Fertility Specialist
    Article
     
    Understanding Fertility Symptoms
    Article
    invitro fertilization
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections