Birthed in 1885, “getting your tubes tied”, a phrase used to describe tubal ligation has been a method women opt for as a permanent form of birth control. It is the most common form of permanent contraceptive in the US today with approximately 700,000 procedures performed annually. While it is known to be one of the most effective methods for preventing pregnancy, the probability of pregnancy after tubal ligation varies depending on the method used and other factors. So what’s the chance of getting pregnant with tubes tied? In this article, let’s delve deeper into the likelihood of pregnancy after tubal ligation.
Whatâs Getting Your Tubes Tied All About?
Tubal ligation like the phrase says it’s getting your tubes tied. This is a surgical process that involves blocking or sealing the fallopian tubes to prevent the fertilization of the egg by the sperm. This form of female sterilization serves as a blockage and helps to avoid pregnancies. Due to its long-lasting effects without a need for regular pill intake, it is reported that 18.6% of women use this method rather than birth control pills, surpassing the latter with almost 2%.
With a few falling pregnant at a particular stage; less than 1%, tubal ligation seems to be the way for some. Many more are aware of a 99% success rate and this has kept some who desire a permanent solution to contraceptives longing for it. However, how do we account for the one percent unsuccessful rate?
What can Contribute to a Successful Pregnancy after Getting Your Tubes Tied
Numerous factors can contribute to successful pregnancies among those who have undergone a tubal procedure ranging from age to hormone levels and many more. Although these cases are rare, we can’t dispute the fact that they do occur.
Age, for instance, plays a significant role when it comes to getting your tubes tied. Women who are younger at the time of tubal ligation have a higher chance of becoming pregnant than those who are older. This is because younger women typically have more chances of growing their fallopian tubes back as they age.
Let’s see what Healthline has to say about that. Women who are younger than 28 years old at the time of tubal ligation have a pregnancy rate of 5%, while those who are over 28 years old have a pregnancy rate of 2%, and 1% for women who are above 34.
Another would be the time since the tubal ligation. Generally, the highest chances of pregnancy after tubal ligation occurs within the first year of the procedure. However, some women may still become pregnant several years after the procedure due to the fallopian tube growing back together or mistakes in the surgery. The likelihood of pregnancy within 10 years percentages ranges between 0.018% to 0.037%.
A total of 30% of women who have undergone tubal ligation request tubal ligation reversal. This makes it one of the major points in this section. The tubal ligation reversal is also a surgical procedure that can contribute to a successful pregnancy after getting your tubes tied.
During the procedure, the blocked or cut portions of the fallopian tubes are reconnected to allow the egg and sperm to meet again. However, this method is only successful for some specific types of tubal sterilization. The Pomeroy tubal ligation for instance is one of those types that can be reversed.
With reversals resting heavily on the types used, what are the rates of getting a reversal according to the types?
There is the clips or rings method which is considered the most successful for possible reversal surgery, with a pregnancy rate of up to 70% to 80% after reversal surgery.
The cut-and-tie method can be however more difficult to reverse than the clips and rings method. The electrocoagulation method, on the other hand, seems to be the hardest.
With an overview of the conditions that can make you pregnant, let’s take a look at the types of tubal ligation and its effectiveness.
Few of the Types of Tubal Ligation and Their Effectiveness Rates
There are not only one to two methods to undergo tubal ligation but quite a few. They range from the clips or rings method to the cut-and-tie method, and the electrocoagulation method. Under each of these methods are a few types including the tubal clip and tubal ring which falls under the clip or rings method. While the effectiveness of tubal ligation rests on the method used, it heavily relies on other factors as well, like the age of the woman.
To list some of the methods:
1. The Adiana Tubal Ligation Method
The Adiana tubal ligation method involves placing small, silicone plugs in the fallopian tubes to block them. This method is performed using a tube with a camera and other instruments that are inserted through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. The silicone plugs are then placed in the fallopian tubes, where they cause scar tissue to form, permanently blocking the tubes. The Adiana method has a high success rate, almost 100%.
2. The fimbriectomy Tubal Ligation Method
The fimbriectomy method is considered highly effective, with a failure rate of less than 2.6%. It involves the complete removal of the fimbria, which are the finger-like projections at the end of the fallopian tubes that help to guide the egg from the ovary to the uterus.
3. The Bipolar Coagulation Tubal Ligation Method
A common method in the United States would be bipolar tubal coagulation. With the use of electric current, the surgeon damages the fallopian tube within some cm. It’s said that the bipolar tubal coagulation method is good for women who might consider a reversal since it has a high rate of about 60%.
Are There Chances of Getting Pregnant with Tubes Tied then?
The chances of getting pregnant after having your tubes tied are extremely rare, with only 1 out of every 200 cases ending in a successful pregnancy and a different percentage of each method. However, from what we’ve noted, none of these methods is below 80% which should be considered good.
Meaning, tubal ligation is generally considered to be an effective method of contraception that can reduce unplanned pregnancies by around 99%.
Factors that can affect the chances of pregnancy
While getting your tubes tied is considered a permanent form of birth control, it is not 100% effective. Several factors can affect the chances of becoming pregnant after having your tubes tied. These factors include:
- Age: The younger you are when you have your tubes tied, the higher the chances of becoming pregnant. This is because the fallopian tubes can sometimes naturally heal and reconnect over time.
- Type of procedure: There are two types of tubal ligation procedures – the traditional method and the newer laparoscopic method. The laparoscopic method is considered more effective and has a lower risk of complications.
- Length of time since the procedure: The longer it has been since your tubes were tied, the lower the chances of becoming pregnant. However, it is still possible to become pregnant even years after the procedure.
- Partner’s fertility: If your partner has fertility issues, it can lower the chances of becoming pregnant even if your tubes are tied.
- Failure of the procedure: In rare cases, the tubal ligation procedure can fail, which can increase the chances of becoming pregnant.
It is important to keep in mind that while the chances of becoming pregnant after having your tubes tied are low, it is still possible. If you experience any symptoms of pregnancy or suspect that you may be pregnant, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider.
Risks of Pregnancy after Tubal Ligation
Despite the effectiveness of tubal ligation, there is still a small chance of pregnancy. The risk of pregnancy after tubal ligation varies depending on several factors, such as the type of procedure done, the age of the woman at the time of the procedure, and the number of years since the procedure was performed.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the risk of pregnancy after tubal ligation is less than 1%. However, this risk increases if the procedure was not done correctly or if the fallopian tubes grow back together over time, allowing sperm to reach the egg.
It is important to note that if a woman does become pregnant after tubal ligation, there is a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
Other risks associated with pregnancy after tubal ligation include preterm labor, miscarriage, and stillbirth. These risks are higher in women who undergo tubal ligation at a younger age or who have a history of infertility.
Overall, while the risk of pregnancy after tubal ligation is low, it is not zero. Women who have undergone this procedure should be aware of the signs and symptoms of pregnancy and seek medical attention if they suspect they may be pregnant.
What to Do If You Suspect Pregnancy After Tubal Ligation
Although tubal ligation is a highly effective method of birth control, there is still a small chance of becoming pregnant. If you suspect that you may be pregnant after having your tubes tied, there are a few steps you should take.
First, take a home pregnancy test. These tests are readily available at most drug stores and can be taken in the privacy of your own home. If the test is positive, make an appointment with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Your healthcare provider will likely perform a blood test to confirm the pregnancy and determine if it is a normal pregnancy or an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition in which the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. This can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
If you are pregnant after having your tubes tied, your healthcare provider will discuss your options with you. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to have a successful pregnancy, or you may need to consider other options such as adoption or termination.
It is important to remember that while the risk of becoming pregnant after tubal ligation is low, it is not zero. If you suspect that you may be pregnant, seek medical attention right away to ensure the health and safety of both you and your baby.
Knowing This, Consider Variable Options to Decide What’s Best
Ultimately, although there is still a small chance of pregnancy even with tubal ligation performed correctly, consider the appropriate options you want to go for as a woman. You can go ahead to consult your doctor on the best available options for you.