It used to be that when a woman chose to undergo surgery for a tubal ligation, she was forever saying good-bye to child-bearing. But as with so many other things in this day and age of medical advances, never say never. What was once done, can now be undone and with a pretty promising success rate.
Tubal ligation is a term applied to any surgical procedure that permanently blocks the fallopian tubes. Those are the tubes that deliver the woman's eggs from her ovaries to her uterus. For pregnancy to happen, sperm must fertilize the egg in one of the fallopian tubes. The fertilized egg then implants in the uterus, develops into an embryo, and becomes a baby. If the fallopian tubes are blocked, fertilization can't take place.
By one count, doctors perform an estimated 650,000 tubal ligation procedures every year. Of those, more than 36,000 will regret having it done. Studies show, the younger the woman is when she ends her ability to have children, the more likely she is to regret it. For many women, their circumstances change. A first marriage falls apart and a new one begins, along with her desire to start a family with her new husband. For other women, the loss of a child, reignites the yearning to give birth. Whatever the reason, these women want their fertility back.
There are surgeons who actually specialize in tubal ligation reversal. One of the first things they will ask for is the pathology reports on the tubal ligation surgery to see specifically, what kind of ligation was done. This is important. The two biggest predictors of success in tubal ligation reversal are the mother's age and the length of the fallopian tube she has left from her original ligation.
Some tubal ligations involve tying off a middle portion of the tubes, so they literally fall off and become absorbed in her body. Think of bridge with the middle broken out of it. The reversal procedure involves reattaching the pieces. The bigger the piece that was taken out, the more difficult it is to restore fertility. Tubal rings and clips tend to have the highest success rates for reversal because the procedure leaves most of the fallopian tubes intact.
The success rate for tubal ligation reversal hovers around the 70 percent range for women in their 30's. Individual doctors may wring higher percentages. Women younger than thirty will see their chances land closer to 80 percent and above. For those women age 40 and higher, the numbers are much lower; closer to forty percent and below. When tubal ligation reversal fails to result in pregnancy, the next option is invitro fertilization.
In some cases, insurance companies do cover tubal ligation reversals especially if the procedure has been shown to have caused health problems such as ectopic pregnancy or excessive menstrual bleeding. Otherwise, you can expect the reversal to cost between six and ten-thousand dollars. Most surgeons offer some kind of financing package.