Becoming pregnant can be a challenging process for many women, even more so if they have been sterilised. If you have undergone a sterilisation procedure, it can feel like all hope of having another child is lost. However, there are ways to reverse this procedure and become pregnant again.

This brief is for women who wish to get pregnant again after being sterilised. It will cover topics such as the types of sterilisation procedures, the risks associated with attempting to become pregnant after sterilisation, and potential methods for reversing sterilisation. Additionally, we will include resources for accessing expert advice and support on this topic.

Hopefully this document will arm you with the right knowledge and understanding so you can make an informed decision about your treatment options.

Types of Sterilisation Procedures

By surgically blocking the tubes, a ‘sterilisation’ procedure aims to prevent pregnancy by stopping the sperm and eggs meeting in the fallopian tubes, and the subsequent embryo from travelling into the uterus. There are three main procedures that are performed:

  • The first is tubal ligation, which involves cutting out a small portion of tube and tying the fallopian tubes to physically separate the tube in the middle. This method is often performed if you are sterilised at caesarean section.
  • The second is the use of clips, a commonly used clip in the UK is the Filshie clip. The clip is placed over the middle portion of the tube causing the tube to block and eventually separate leaving the tubes unconnected. This in turn prevents the eggs from travelling down and being able to meet sperm. It is usually performed by keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery and no tube is removed during this procedure, leaving your tubes their original length.
  • The third type of sterilisation procedure is Essure device insertion, which involves inserting tiny coils into the fallopian tubes to block them. This procedure is no longer offered and was withdrawn from the market due to concerns with post procedure complications such as pain.

All these procedures can be reversed and can give a woman a chance at becoming pregnant again (including more than once) without the need for more costly and less successful treatments such as IVF. The main risk when getting pregnant following reversal surgery is ectopic pregnancy which occurs in around 1 in 20 women (6%). This risk is similar the risk of ectopic pregnancy following IVF.

Methods for Reversing Sterilisation

For those who have undergone a sterilisation procedure and still wish to become pregnant, it is possible to reverse it. For women who have undergone tubal ligation or insertion of clips, the procedure can be reversed through a process known as tubal re-anastomosis (re-attaching the separated ends of the tube together), which can restore fertility. For those who have undergone an Essure procedure, the coils can be removed, and the fallopian tubes can be reimplanted into new channels in the womb allowing the sperm and eggs to meet again.

Both procedures come with risks but do provide a high chance of pregnancy after the recovery period. It is important to speak with an experienced medical professional before deciding on any method of reversing sterilisation. For more information about the surgery please see our comprehensive patient information leaflet available on our website.

Resources for Expert Advice and Support

Our website provides resources for women who wish to understand what the reversal surgery involves, the risks associated with becoming pregnant after sterilisation and the risks of having the surgery.

When it comes to deciding whether or not to reverse your sterilisation, it can be helpful to speak with an expert in the field. Mr Dobson is an experienced sub-specialist in fertility medicine & surgery. He is able to consider and advise on all the factors required to achieve a pregnancy, giving you the best chance to grow your family.