Can You Get Your Tubes Untied?

by | Mar 23, 2022 | Fertility 101, Infertility, Resources

Chances of success for tubal ligation reversals

Occasionally, patients who have received a tubal ligation wonder if they can get their tubes untied. Most people who’ve had this form of permanent birth control don’t seek to reverse it. However, sometimes a person receives this procedure and later on decides they do want to have children. In general, success in reversing a tubal ligation varies, depending on the type of the original procedure and other factors.

What Is a Tubal Ligation?

Tubal ligation is the medical term for “getting your tubes tied.” It refers to a permanent form of birth control that blocks off the fallopian tubes. During ovulation, eggs travel through the fallopian tubes from the ovaries to the uterus. If a sperm meets the egg along the way, it can fertilize the egg and result in pregnancy. Therefore, blocking off the fallopian tubes prevents fertilization and pregnancy.

Can You Have Your Tubes Untied?

Not all tubal ligations can be reversed successfully. In addition, you may not become pregnant even after a successful surgery, depending on certain factors. For this reason, doctors encourage patients to think of tubal ligation as a permanent procedure.

However, in some cases you can reverse a tubal ligation and have a successful pregnancy. One of the main factors that decides this depends on what kind of tubal ligation you initially received.

Reversible Types of Tubal Ligation

MethodProcedure Name(s)DescriptionCan It Be Reversed/
Can Your Tubes Be Untied?
CauterizationBipolar Coagulation (Laparoscopic Cauterization)A doctor burns (cauterizes) sections of the fallopian tubes using electrical current.Usually. Success depends on how much tissue damage occurred during the initial cauterization.
Restriction (through clips, rings, or sutures)– Pomeroy Tubal Ligation
– Tubal Ring or Falope Ring
– Tubal Clips (Spring Clip or Hulka Clip)
A doctor pinches off sections of the fallopian tubes using sutures (stitches), silicone bands, or locking clips. Sometimes the procedure involves cutting and burning the restricted section of tubes as well.Usually. Typically, these methods minimally damage the tubes, leading to fairly easy reversal.
Surgical Removal– Fimbriectomy
– Bilateral Salpingectomy
In a fimbriectomy, a doctor removes the area connecting the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. This way, the ovary cannot release eggs into the fallopian tubes.

In a bilateral salpingectomy, a doctor completely removes the fallopian tubes. Salpingectomies can treat ectopic pregnancies or ovarian cancer.
No. Very rare cases may be successful, but reversal is typically not recommended.
Sterilization DevicesEssure or Adiana (note: the FDA has removed both devices from the market in the US)A doctor inserts a device into the fallopian tubes through the uterus. Over time, the device creates scar tissue to block off the tubes’ opening.No. Reversing this type of sterilization is extremely rare and has been associated with pregnancy complications in the few times it was achieved.

What Other Factors Contribute to Having Your Tubes Untied?

Even with a reversible tubal ligation, other factors can still affect your chances of a successful pregnancy. These include age, overall health, and your general reproductive health. For example, patients under 35 have the highest chance of getting pregnant after a reversal. However, people over 40 have the lowest chance. Your health and reproductive health status can also affect your ability to conceive. Overall, patients who untie their tubes have a 40-80% chance of becoming pregnant afterwards.

Options If You Cannot Untie Your Tubes

For those who cannot have their tubes untied, or cannot become pregnant naturally after a reversal, another option for pregnancy exists: In vitro fertilization (IVF). This procedure involves retrieving an egg from your ovaries, fertilizing it with sperm in a lab, and placing the resulting embryo into your uterus. IVF bypasses the fallopian tubes completely, thus making it an option for patients with severely damaged or irreversibly blocked fallopian tubes.

Before untying your tubes, discuss your options with a fertility doctor. This specialist can help you determine your chances of becoming pregnant naturally after a tubal ligation reversal. Together, you can decide whether to pursue a reversal or start IVF instead. To begin, schedule a consultation today.