Female Sterilisation Reversal: FAQ

Below are a list of the most common FAQs of Female Sterilisation Reversal procedures.

Can all female sterilisations be reversed ?

If the tubes are removed it is not possible to reverse the sterilisation. However, the best results are obtained when the fallopian tubes have been sterilised using Filshie clips.  Sometimes it is only possible to operate on one of the tubes, which could still make you fertile.

When can I have sex again ?

As soon as you are comfortable and feel inclined to do so, usually wait until after your first period.

Should my partner have a test before I have my operation ?

This is not essential but a normal sperm count by your partner before you have your reversal of sterilisation will be very reassuring. This can be arranged through your husband’s GP and should be free of charge. It would be important to contact the GP first as there might be a protocol that needs to be followed to get an accurate sperm analysis result. If you prefer then a sperm count can be arranged. This will be discussed at your consultation.

When will I become pregnant ?

Many factors affect whether a woman becomes pregnant. If your operation is successful you are most likely to achieve pregnancy in the first year after the surgery.

How can I find out whether the tubes are patent if I don’t achieve pregnancy ?

We advise, if you have not achieved a pregnancy in 6 months, that you have an extra test on your tubes to see if one or both are patent (open). This can be arranged, either at your local hospital or we can arrange this test for you.

This test is called a Hysterosalpingogram where you will have xrays taken of your fallopian tubes after they have been instilled with dye.

What are the surgical risks?

1. Infections can occur with any operation, but are rare for reversal surgery. It is possible that you could develop an infection of the wound or deeper inside your tummy. There is also a possibility of developing a urinary infection or chest infection. These are usually easy to treat with antibiotics.

2.Serious bleeding is an extremely rare event for this type of surgery.

3. Bruising around the wound is more common and will usually settle on its own.

4. Damage to other internal organs theoretically can occur but is exceptionally unlikely unless you have had previous surgery or infections in your abdomen.

5. Clots in the legs and or lungs is a risk for all operations, to minimise this risk you will have a risk assessment undertaken prior to surgery and this will highlight which risk category you are in and appropriate treatment will be given. For most this will be to either wear special anti-embolus stocking and the use of flow-tron boots (which massage your legs) in theatre or having blood thinning injections for a few days following the operation. 

I have had C-sections before. What are my risks?

One of the most common FAQs of female sterlisation reversal procedures concerns those who have had c-sections previously. For women undergoing reversal surgery who have had multiple previous caesarean sections, there are some extra unique risks which must be considered:

1. Risk of an abnormally invasive placenta – Due to the presence of a scar on the uterus from a previous caesarean section, there is a risk that any future pregnancies may implant in this region of the uterus (near the scar). There is a small chance it could then invade through the scar (and rarely into the bladder). This risk after 3 caesarean sections is around 1 in 125. If the placenta is found to be low on your 20 week pregnancy scan, this risk rises to 1 in 20.

2. Scar rupture – If you have previously had a caesarean section and were to labour vaginally following a tubal reversal (rather than have a repeat caesarean section), because the scar on the womb is slightly weaker, there is a 1 in 200 risk of the scar opening up in labour. Your obstetrician will discuss this with you during your pregnancy, including the options for delivery.

3. Placenta praevia (low lying placenta over neck of the womb) – 1 in 100.

4. Scar tissue with increased risk at caesarean section of injury to: Bladder (1 in 125)/ Blood transfusion (1 in 12)/ Hysterectomy (1 in 140)

5. Risk of preterm delivery or waters breaking early (before 37 weeks) – 1 in 6-8 with small associated risks of baby having breathing problems if delivered pre term (1-5%), requiring admission to the baby unit. 

Is there a chance that my tubes cannot be rejoined?

Very occasionally, <o.5% of cases, it may not be possible to reverse the sterilisation procedure in either of the tubes. This may be due to the damage caused by clips, or the amount of tubes removed during the original sterilisation. In 3% of cases only one tube may be reversed. There is however a 96.5% chance Mr Dobson can reverse both tubes. 

What options are available other than female sterilisation reversal ?

IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) is another option to reversal – the implications of this will be discussed at your consultation.

What do I do when I get a positive pregnancy test ?

You should have an early review of your pregnancy either via your GP or ring the clinic and we could advise you. You may need an early ultra-sound scan to ensure the pregnancy is in the womb.

Could I get an ectopic pregnancy?

One of the least asked FAQs of female sterilisation reversal procedures is the risk of a pregnancy occurring outside the womb. An ectopic pregnancy is one that lodges in the fallopian tube, where it grows on and can rupture through the tube causing bleeding into your abdomen. Although the chances of this happening are low, the ectopic rate for the technique used by Mr Dobson the surgeon is 6%, whereas other centres quote rates between 6% and 15% depending on the original method of sterilisation. Clip sterilisation carries the lowest rate and ligation / coagulation the highest. When you get pregnant it is preferable to have an early ulstrasound scan to ensure that the pregnancy is in the womb, this is usually done at about 6 weeks from the last period.

How can I find out if my ovaries are still producing eggs which can be easily fertilised ?

You could have a hormone test on day 2 or 3 of your menstrual cycle which will help estimate how well you are continuing to produce eggs from your ovaries.

Will I need time off work?

It is best to take off about a month to 6 weeks.

Is there accommodation near by for my partner to stay ?

Yes, Mandy, Mr Dobson’s secretary can provide further details for your partner to stay while you have your sterilisation reversal.  Click here to request further information about Female Sterilisation Reversal.

FAQs of female sterilisation reversal