- Yes, you can still get pregnant with your tubes tied. Your odds are between 1% to 3.7% depending on factors that include age and surgery type.
- Tubal ligation is considered a permanent form of birth control, however, if you decide you want to get pregnant down the road, you can reverse the procedure. Approximately 50% to 80% of women can get pregnant after a reversal.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Short of abstinence, no birth control method is ever 100% guaranteed to prevent pregnancy. Even when it comes to “getting your tubes tied” in a procedure called tubal ligation.
Tubal ligation is not as simple as popping a pill or getting an injection. It’s a surgical procedure performed either during a cesarean, shortly after vaginal birth, or through a minimally-invasive type of surgery, called laparoscopically, when you aren’t pregnant.
During surgery, doctors cut or close off your fallopian tubes to prevent your eggs from meeting up with any sperm.
But “even tubal ligation has a failure rate resulting in pregnancy after the procedure is performed,” says Gerardo Bustillo, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center.
Getting pregnant after tubal ligation
The actual failure rate varies, though, depending on who you ask.
For example, the Mayo Clinic reports that fewer than 1% — or 1 in every 100 — of people will become pregnant within the first year of getting the procedure.
Whereas The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that the risk is anywhere from 1.8% to 3.7% within 10 years of getting the procedure. For comparison, about 9% of people taking birth control pills will get pregnant.
Your age matters too. Many physicians say that you’ll have a 1 in 200 chance of pregnancy if you have your tubal performed in your 20’s, and a 1 in 300 chance if you’re in your 30’s. Makes sense though, right? More years of sexual intercourse increases the risks of pregnancy after tubal ligation.
Moreover, there are multiple different types of tubal ligation, which may also affect how well the procedure prevents pregnancy. However, there are no data to suggest which type of procedure is more effective than another, so ask consult with a doctor about which type is best for you.
If you’ve had a tubal ligation and you miss a period or get a positive result from a pregnancy test, see your doctor right away. Because you’re at a higher risk of a serious medical condition called an ectopic pregnancy, which happens when a fertilized egg attaches outside the uterus, instead of inside. If left untreated, it can be fatal.
Tubal ligation won’t just prevent pregnancy
For the most part, people who get a tubal ligation are voluntarily looking for a more permanent solution to prevent pregnancy. But sometimes it won’t be as voluntary.
For example, doctors may recommend a tubal ligation if you have a medical condition that could complicate pregnancy or put your health at risk, such as:
- Severe hypertension
- Systemic lupus
Tubal ligation and fallopian tube removal are also options if you’re at an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
“That’s because some forms of cancer actually begin in the fallopian tubes and spread to the ovaries,” says David Diaz, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center.
Who should not get a tubal ligation
Most tubal ligations are done by two small incisions or one small incision in the abdomen.
However, if you have severe scar tissue in your pelvis from a cesarean section, or if you’ve had a pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or previous abdominal surgery, a tubal ligation can be potentially riskier. Talk with your doctor about a procedure using a larger incision in the abdomen.
Additionally, if you have medical problems that would make general anesthesia more dangerous like a history of adverse reactions to anesthesia, you may want to consider a non-surgical type of birth control.
A tubal ligation can cost upwards of $6,000
According to Planned Parenthood, tubal ligation could cost anywhere from $0 to $6,000.
If you have health insurance, check with your carrier to see if it covers this procedure. Otherwise, check with your doctor’s office.
Yes, you can reverse tubal ligation
Sometimes, the desire to have a baby happens later in life, after you’ve had your tubes tied. Since tubal ligation is considered a permanent form of birth control, it does require a minimally invasive surgical procedure to reverse it, so you can try to become pregnant. This involves reconnecting the blocked segments of the fallopian tubes to the remainder of the fallopian tubes.
If successful, a reversal may allow the egg and sperm to meet again. But this depends on your age, type of tubal ligation performed, and the length of your remaining tubes. According to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, approximately 50% to 80% of women can get pregnant after a reversal.
- Plan B: Side effects, how long they last, and how to get relief
- You can get pregnant with an IUD but it’s extremely rare
- Birth control pills may be making part of your brain smaller