Reversing a Tubal Ligation

by Catherine Rein
(last updated April 22, 2009)

I have a friend who tragically lost a child in a car accident several years ago and because she is still in her late 30s would like to try for another baby. The friend had a tubal ligation many years back and is now considering have this procedure reversed. She's determined that having the tubal ligation reversed will likely be less expensive and more successful than attempting In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

If you or a loved one is considering having a tubal ligation reversed, there are a few considerations to think about:

  • Candidates. Women who have had a previous tubal ligation and now desire to have more children are candidates for tubal ligation reversal. Tubal reversal surgery is usually more desirable than IVF. It is cheaper and usually more effective. Pregnancy rates with tubal ligation reversal average 75% while IVF pregnancy rates are approximately 27%. Some women have had their tubes drastically damaged during the tubal ligation and are not good candidates for a reversal. Your doctor can let you know if this is the case in your situation.
  • You should be sure to have a copy of your tubal ligation operative report. If this is not available, the doctor will likely have to perform a diagnostic operation to examine your fallopian tubes and determine if tubal reversal is likely to be successful.
  • Procedures. Your doctor can give you more detail on the best procedure for your situation. Tubal ligation reversal involves microsurgical techniques to open and reconnect the fallopian tube segments that are still in place after a tubal ligation.
  • In some cases tubal implantation might be required to provide a new opening through the uterine muscle.
  • Doctors who specialize in tubal ligation reversal are also likely to provide services to repair fallopian tubes that have become blocked due to pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Costs and Follow Up. Fees for tubal ligation reversal average $6,000 to $8,000. The surgery itself usually includes one or two nights of hospital care. Most patients are able to return to their normal routines within 5-10 days.

Pregnancy after a tubal ligation reversal shows a slight increase in the chance of miscarriage whether this is due to the reversal procedure itself or the result of the age of most reversal patients is unclear. The miscarriage rate reported in the general population ranges from approximately 20% to 50% depending on a woman's age and the extent of early pregnancy testing.

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