Take a free contraceptive test at BestMethodForMe.com
Managing Contraception Questions and Answers
Questions & Answers
Everything you ever wanted to know about managing contraception and weren't afraid to ask.

Click here to ask a question
Search the Questions & Answers Browse by Category
<< Return to questions

Is it possible that I am pregnant after a tubal ligation 15 years ago? #310/13
 Hi. I had my tubal ligation 15 years ago (September 24, 1997), and I'm wondering if it's possible that I could become pregnant. I feel a weird feeling that is mimicking moving or kicks, but I also thought it could be gas. My periods were very short when I was pregnant with my son. I had a short period for three months. Is there a chance that I may still able to get pregnant or reverse this tubal ligation?

  Sorry for this very, very, very late reply.


Although quite rare, pregnancy can occur as long as 15 years after tubal sterilization


Reversal is possible but far from 100% effective.  See below:


 It is sometimes possible to reverse a tubal sterilization operation.

Try to find a physician who has extensive experience reversing tubal sterilization and how often he or she has been successful and the reversal procedures have led to a delivery. This would give you part of the answer to your question. Experience always improves the results of a surgical procedure.

I suggest that you contact your local or state Planned Parenthood people and find out about the local scene.  If you lived in the Atlanta area, I would recommend that you go to the Atlanta Feminine Health Center (FWHC).

Early in the process you might want to check with your insurance folks. 

The operations vary so much in price. They cost lots.

Any chance you could discuss this with the clinician who did the procedure?

I am not an expert in the subject about which you are seeking information.  But here are some data from the book Contraceptive Technology and from the organization, ENGENDERHEALTH that does come from experts:

Desire for Pregnancy Following Tubal Sterilization

Sterilization should be considered permanent, but even with careful counseling; some women will have a change in personal circumstance In vitro fertilization or microsurgical tubal reversal can be considered to attempt pregnancy following trans-abdominal sterilization. Success is not guaranteed with either approach.


The Essure device is, by design, placed in the uterine cornua, and therefore patients are not candidates for traditional microsurgical reversal. In addition, a 6 to 10 mm portion of the coil remains protruding into the uterine cavity after the device is placed, which could be detrimental both to the success of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure and to the pregnancy, if achieved. FORTUNATELY, YOUR PROCEDURE WAS NOT AN ESSURE PROCEDURE. Pregnancy outcome data on IVF with the Essure device in place is not currently available. At this time, Essure should be considered an irreversible method of female sterilization.[i][i][i]


The choice between IVF and tubal surgery to achieve pregnancy following tubal sterilization is dependent on multiple factors, including the age of the woman at the time of treatment, severity of the tubal damage and remaining tubal length, as well as other fertility factors. With careful case selection and meticulous surgical technique, reasonable pregnancy rates can be achieved following microsurgical reversal of tubal sterilization.[ii][ii][ii]


Surgery, especially major abdominal surgery, carries operative risks as well as risks due to anesthesia. Ectopic pregnancy is more common among pregnancies occurring after surgical reversal of female sterilization. Ectopic pregnancy rates range from 1 % to 7%—higher rates can be observed in specific anatomical situations. Nonetheless, sterilization reversal may be appealing for younger women, couples who desire more than a single additional pregnancy, or those who are not comfortable with IVF. Both IVF and reversal surgery are costly and are often not covered by health insurance. Finally, those couples utilizing tubal reversal surgery may have the need for future contraception. A large Canadian study showed that 23% of women obtaining tubal reversal following sterilization went on to obtain a subsequent sterilization.[iii][iii][iii]


According to Engenderhealth: A review of many studies reveals the chance of successful pregnancy to be roughly 50%.  In actual practice they point out that this percentage is probably much lower.


Certainly I hope you will be advised by a clinician with extensive experience doing tubal reanastomosis operations.  I am sure that you and your partner are considering whether you have any inclination to consider adoption.  What are your partner’s thoughts about adoption?  Are you ovulating fairly regularly?


Does all the above information help or is it just too much information (TMI)?


Good luck!


To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of sterilization go to our website: www.managingcontraception.com and click on Choices.  You can also order this wonderful new educational book from our website or by calling 404-875-5001.  Do you have your copy yet?


Key words:  tubal sterilization, pregnant, gas, periods, reversal, rare, extensive procedure, Planned Parenthood, Atlanta Feminine Health Center, expensive, insurance, Contraceptive Technology, ENGENDERHEALTH, Essure, IVF, tubal surgery, risk, studies


Posted 3-26-2013, Updated 4-26-2013

Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH
Emeritus Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, GA

The directors and owners of this website and any publications and information concerning health matters offered here advise a person with a particular problem to consult a primary-care clinician or a specialist in obstetrics, gynecology, or urology (depending on the problem or the contraceptive) as well as the product package insert and other references before diagnosing, managing, or treating the problem.
Visitor Comments
No visitor comments posted.

Post a comment
Post Comment
To post a comment for this question, simply complete the form below. Fields marked with an asterisk are required.
   Your Name:
   Email Address:
* Your Comment:
* Enter the code below:
Related Questions
No related questions were found.
No attachments were found.

Suggestions, recommendations, questions, comments, data from the literature, interpretation of laboratory tests and other information provided on this site are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be relied upon as advice from or implied to be a substitute for the professional advice of a physician, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, counselor or other healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your clinician or other professional for any questions you may have regarding your health, medical condition, method of birth control and other family planning or personal/social issues. Periodic references to costs of birth control methods on this website are estimates only and your actual cost for any specific method of birth control may be more or less than the stated amount. Emory University School of Medicine, Bridging the Gap Foundation, and Bridging the Gap Communications Inc are not responsible for any damage or loss you may incur as a result of your use of or reliance on any material or information provided through this website.