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Infertility Cubby

Tubal Sterilization Reversal
By Sam Thatcher, MD, Ph.D.

Sam Thatcher, MD, Ph.D.Q. Once a woman has a tubal ligation, is there any way of reversing? Is there a time limit when it could be successful? What are the statistics for having children after a tubal reversal?

A. Tubal sterilization reversal is certainly possible in many cases, but it is a lot more difficult than the initial sterilization procedure. It usually involves an abdominal incision a prolonged surgery using the operating microscope and a 3-6 week recovery period. An alternative that some may choose is in vitro fertilization. Clearly do your homework well and feel very comfortable with your decision and physician.

The procedure is usually expensive and often not covered by insurance. An all inclusive cost is $6000 to $10000. A small number of centers are doing the procedure through the laparoscope, which may be less expensive, and avoids a major operation. While an excellent procedure, there are only a small number surgeons performing the procedure at present time.

Please make sure your surgeon is well experienced and is performing a relatively large number of these procedures. Know his/her honest success rate. The best seldom charge more. Success rate for pregnancy may be 50-75% over the first year after surgery. There will be a risk of ectopic pregnancy (10%-25%) after the procedure and a need for additional contraception after a pregnancy.

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