This is probably the most frequent question that we get. The only way to tell accurately what your chances are of pregnancy is to reverse your tubal. When your tummy is opened to reverse your tubal ligation it’s possible to see your ovaries and tell for sure if they are making eggs regularly, which is important. It’s possible to fix some conditions that will improve your chances of getting pregnant, more about that later.
Anyone who guarantees results is more interested in getting you as a patient than in being honest with you. When you actually look at the tubes during a reversal you can tell what the chances of success are. It has been estimated that the natural fertility of women under age 31 is 76%. Women aged 31 to 35 have a 73% pregnancy rate and ladies over age 35 to 40 have 71% chance of pregnancy when artificially inseminated with sperm from fertile donors. Nothing anyone doing a tubal reversal could improve on these numbers. These figures were calculated from studies of patients who never had a tubal ligation. We see a lot of ridiculous claims being made about success with reversal and with IVF. We just completed a study of all of the patients we reversed in 2011. Our age-corrected pregnancy rates were within a percentage point or two for every class of patients. What this means is that in the year 2011 we were able to give our patients the same chance of being pregnant as they would have if they never had their tubes tied.
There are some things that increase your chance of pregnancy:
If you got pregnant easily before you had your tubes tied, you will probably get pregnant easily if they can be reversed.
Being under age 40 is good. After age 30 your fertility starts to decline and after 40 you can get pregnant but your chances are probably in the 40% range. If you have relatives on your mother’s side that got pregnant after age 40 you may have a better chance because that seems to run in families. If you ever had twins or have a female family member who had twins you probably have good fertility.
Never having had a serious pelvic infection helps your chances. One advantage of our facility is that we only do one or two tubal ligation reversals a day and we can take the time to reverse some of the effects we see from pelvic infections. The best thing is to have never have had an infection, but we will take the time, if need be, to fix what we can.
If the type of tubal ligation you had has left you with enough length of tube and most do, that is good. More is better. There is some controversy as to how much length of tube is needed. Things get real good if you have at least 6 centimeters and 8 or more is excellent. The generally accepted length for fallopian tubes that have never been tied is 13 centimeters. I have seen tubes that have been tied with clips [they don’t use up hardly any tube] and they are only 9 centimeters; some women must have naturally shorter tubes. The tube is not only the “pipe” that brings the fertilized egg from the ovary to the womb: it is an incubator that changes the outside of the early conceptus so that it can settle inside the womb.
The fallopian tube is shaped like a trumpet, it is different widths at different parts of its length. It helps if your tubes were tied in a way that leaves us with two similar pieces to join. We can join narrow tube to wide tube and we will take the time to do it but you have a better chance for a baby if the tubes are closer in width.
If you are in good health, your chances are better. Being pregnant is a strain on you and the body seems to resist pregnancy when you are in poor health. You probably need to think twice about getting pregnant if you are not in good health. It’s dangerous for you and the baby.