Is it possible to get pregnant after having your tubes tied? Are there complications?
Tubal ligation, tubectomy, and female sterilization are other names for having your tubes tied. This is a surgical procedure for permanent birth control. The woman’s Fallopian tubes are cut and sealed off or blocked, so that sperm cannot pass through and fertilize the egg that comes out of the ovaries.
You can become pregnant after tubal ligation, but the method is one of the most effective forms of birth control and the chances of pregnancy are extremely slim. Planned Parenthood estimates female sterilization as about 99 percent effective in the first year. Afterward, the rate declines slightly, down to about 98 percent. That is because, on rare occasion, the parts of the severed tubes may reattach, at least partially, allowing sperm to get through.
For those few women who do get pregnant after having their tubes tied, one possible complication is an ectopic pregnancy. This is when a fertilized egg embeds itself in the Fallopian tubes or anywhere outside the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies, which are dangerous, occur in about one-third of women who become pregnant after sterilization. It is extremely rare, but you should fully understand the risks before making your choice.
As to other complications, any kind of surgery carries risks, although tubal ligation is considered a low-risk procedure. The degree of risk varies, depending on the form of anesthesia (local or general) and the type of surgery. Potential complications include reaction to anesthesia, puncture of other organs during surgery, bleeding and infection. Remember, these risks are very small.
Several different surgical techniques may be used for sterilization, which can be done through the vagina or the abdomen. One of the most common techniques is a minimally invasive procedure called laparoscopy. This can often be done on an outpatient basis, has a quick recovery time and little scarring.
Despite the minors risks of pregnancy and surgical complications, female sterilization is often an ideal choice for couples who have had all the children they want (or are certain they do not want any) and do not wish to be bothered with nonpermanent forms of birth control. Male sterilization, or vasectomy, is another alternative for such couples. Vasectomies are a tad more effective and the surgery is a little less complicated than tubal ligation.