Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure in which a
woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked, cut, or sealed to prevent
her eggs from traveling from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes, where they
could be fertilized by a sperm.
Tubal ligation is a highly effective form of birth control that is almost always permanent.
Reversing a tubal ligation by reattaching the cut or sealed ends of the tubes
is a major surgery.
The success of surgery to reverse a tubal ligation depends on:
The tubal ligation method that was originally
used. Clips and rings (such as the Hulka clip, Filshie clip, and Falope rings) are successfully reversed the
most often. Electrocautery is least likely to be successfully reversed.
Time. The less time that has passed since the tubal ligation was
done, the more likely it is that the reversal surgery will be successful.
Condition of the tubes. The more the tubes are damaged, the less
likely the reversal is to be successful.
Depending on the method used for tubal ligation and how much of the
fallopian tube is damaged after tubal ligation, success rates for reversals are
about 70% to 80%.footnote 1
Women who have had a tubal ligation reversed have a
higher-than-average risk of a fertilized egg implanting in the fallopian tube (ectopic pregnancy)
rather than in the uterus. This can become a life-threatening emergency.
Other considerations about having a tubal ligation reversed include
The surgery takes several hours, and most women
are hospitalized for at least 2 days.
The surgery can cost more
than $10,000. Most insurance companies do not pay for the procedure. And it is
not covered by U.S. government programs such as Medicaid or military health
There is no guarantee that you will be able to become
pregnant after having the reversal.
Surgeons usually refuse to perform the
surgery if they think there is little chance that it will be
About half of the women who request reversal are turned
About half of the women who have the surgery will become
Speroff L, Darney PD (2011). Sterilization. In A Clinical Guide for Contraception, 5th ed., pp. 381-404. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD – Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerRebecca Sue Uranga, MD – Obstetrics and Gynecology