What is female sterilization?
Female sterilization is a surgical procedure that prevents a woman from becoming pregnant. The method involves blocking the fallopian tubes, preventing the sperm from reaching the egg. Fertilization cannot occur if the sperm and egg are unable to meet. There are two forms of female sterilization: tubal ligation and tubal implant. Also known as having the tubes tied, tubal ligation involves cutting and sealing off the fallopian tubes. The tubes can also be banded, cut, or clamped. Tubal ligation immediately prevents pregnancy. A tubal implant is a small coil placed into the fallopian tubes. Tubal implants work by building scar tissue around the coils, preventing sperm from reaching the eggs. Pregnancy prevention is not immediate and can take up to 3 months. Tubal implants do not require any surgery. Women who do not wish to have any more children can opt to undergo female sterilization.
Can sterilization be reversed?
Tubal ligation is intended to be permanent. Reversal is considered major surgery. Reversal is possible but there is no guarantee a woman will become pregnant after the procedure. Not all tubal ligations can be reversed. Success depends on the type of tubal ligation performed, how much time has passed since the procedure, and the current condition of the fallopian tubes. Women should also be aware that reversal increases the chance of ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus.
IVF after reversal
After the reversal, couples can often conceive naturally. If the tubes were too damaged, other fertility issues are present, or natural conception isn’t working, IVF is a viable option. Fertility drugs will help stimulate the ovaries. If egg retrieval is possible, the egg will be fertilized with the partner or donor sperm. If egg retrieval is not possible, donor eggs can be used. IVF bypasses the fallopian tubes, increasing the chance of pregnancy.
Can I still get pregnant?
Female sterilization is intended to prevent future pregnancy. However, tubal ligation reversal can allow women to become pregnant again. Some women will be able to conceive naturally. When natural conception is not possible, IVF is a successful option. For more information regarding fertility and treatment options, women should speak with a healthcare provider.
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