Tubal ligation, also known as “having one’s tubes tied,” is a permanent form of birth control done using either one of two methods. A mini laparotomy or laparoscopy.
A mini laparotomy involves making a small incision in the abdomen and locating the fallopian tubes, which conduct the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. After the tubes are found and drawn outside the body through the incision, a portion of each tube is removed and the ends are tied. In laparoscopy the woman’s abdomen is first inflated with carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide gas, creating a gap between the bowel and the abdomen. A fiberoptic light is inserted (by puncturing the abdominal wall) and an instrument either coagulates the tubes with an electric current or places a band or clip on the tubes.
However, some women later come to regret this decision.
Here is a list of your questions answered by our experts regarding tubal ligation and pregnancy.
Q: Does the Barbados Fertility Centre perform tubal ligation reversal?
Unfortunately, we do not offer this procedure at the moment.
Q: Is tubal reversal possible after a cut and burn procedure?
Because the tubes get badly damaged in the process, it is highly unlikely that a tubal reversal is possible.
Q: How dangerous is it to perform tubal reversal surgery?
It is not dangerous but just usually unsuccessful in achieving the desired effects.
Q: Can women still get pregnant after a tubal ligation without having it untied?
Generally speaking, no. However, there is the risk of ectopic pregnancy in women who have had tubal ligation, which is a greater risk than for those who have not had the surgery. Recanalization or formations of tuboperitoneal fistulas occur, the openings of which are large enough for passage of sperm but too small to allow an ovum to push through, resulting in fertilisation/implantation in the distal tubal segment.
Q: What is the best age to get your tubes tied?
There is no good time for this. In fact you are better off asking your male partner to have a vasectomy!
Q: Compared to tubal reversal, is IVF a better option and why?
The success rate of IVF is about 50%. The success rate of tubal reversal depends on how it was performed. If the tubes were burnt and cut there is little to no success of reopening them. If you just had your tubes clipped/banded then it is worth exploring to have the clips removed and for the doctor to try reopening the tubes. This type of tubal surgery is the best to have if you want to have your tubes tied.
Q: What is the success rate of IVF with tied tubes?
It is worthwhile to note that IVF was invented for blocked tubes. However, the success rates with IVF vary greatly according to the programme. Some IVF programmes have pregnancy rates with tubal factor infertility of over 50% per attempt in women under 40 years old. Other programmes with the same type of patients report pregnancy rates of only 20 to 30% (or sometimes less). The reason for this is that some in vitro fertilization programs are better than others. This is why the couple should do careful comparisons of in vitro fertilization success rates before choosing an IVF specialist and clinic.
Q: What are the risks involved when trying for a baby with tied tubes?
There are no risks involved.
Q: Is there a time frame for when you can have the tubes untied?
If you can have them unclipped, you are better off doing it sooner rather than later because as time passes scar tissue is formed.