For many women, having a child is a dream come true. But being a mom is a lot of work! Sometimes after having a family a woman decides not to have any more children. In some cases as a form of birth control she will have a tubal ligation procedure where her fallopian tubes, the canal that an egg travels through from the ovary to the uterus prior to fertilization, is cut or tied off to prevent future pregnancy. However sometimes a woman’s wants and circumstances change, and she finds herself thinking about having another child. In those situations, talking to a medical experts about reversing sterilization through an minimially invasive operation called tubal ligation reversal or tubotubal anastomosis can be helpful.
In many cases women wanting to have children again after tubal ligation think that IVF or in vitro fertilization is their only option. Often they simply haven’t heard of tubal ligation reversal and are unaware that it not only increases their chances of conceiving but also is significantly less expensive than IVF. During a tubal ligation reversal the separated segments of the fallopian tube are rejoined, restoring the pathway for the egg to the uterus so that it can be fertilized naturally by sperm. Typically the procedure takes about anhour, a little longer than the initial tubal ligation, an with a slightly extened recovery time because of larger incision and more time spent in surgery. Still, in most cases the procedure can be done with minimal invasiveness. To reduce the recovery time and to simplify the surgery, experts have developed new surgical techniques including making small incisions and using cameras to guide the surgery to ensure the effectiveness laparoscopically. Not all hospitals and surgeons use this approach, so be sure to ask if it’s available in your area. Dr. Morice performs tubal ligation reversal using both techniques, but since a small, open incision is much less expensive, most couples choose to have an open procedure rather than a laparoscopic procedure.
Though inexpensive and minimally invasive in most cases, a tubal ligation reversal is not appropriate for every woman. There are some specifics you’ll want to be sure to discuss with your doctor to find out if tubal ligation reversal surgery is right for you.
If your fallopian tubes have been significantly shortened the procedure may be more difficult and less effective. In the initial surgery the tube is separated in the middle, leaving one end connecting near the ovary, the other to the uterus. The longer the two tubes are, the easier it will be to reattach them and the more likely the operation will be successful. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to verify the length of the two ends before tubal ligation reversal surgery.
In some cases infertility can result from problems with male sperm quality. For those couples, IVF is a better option.
When a woman gets older, surgery and pregnancy becomes more complicated. If you’re over 38 and considering pregnancy and a tubal ligation reversal it is important to discuss your health and your options with your physician to make the decision that’s best for you and your family.
As women age, the number of eggs they have decreases. This can be checked before tubal ligation reversal surgery so that Dr. Morice can let you know if your ovarian reserve is large enough to make a pregnancy possible.