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IVF or Tubal Reversal: Which Should You Choose?

January 8, 2013

A tubal ligation, or tubectomy, is a laparoscopic surgery in which a woman’s fallopian tubes are surgically altered to prevent an ovulated egg from reaching the uterus for fertilization. Typically, couples who feel their family is complete and no longer wish to conceive without assistance will opt for a tubal ligation for the female or vasectomy for the male. Tubal ligation is commonly referred to as “having one’s tubes tied”.

In some instances, a woman who has had her tubes tied decides she would like to continue building her family. She should consult with a fertility doctor who specializes in disorders of the fallopian tubes to discuss her treatment options: tubal reversal or in vitro fertilization (IVF). Without reversing the procedure, a woman can undergo IVF, a fertility treatment which bypasses the fallopian tubes.

Is Tubal Reversal or IVF Right For You?

A tubal reversal procedure can be performed depending on the length of remaining fallopian tube, and with strong consideration of any fertility conditions or age-related factors which might decrease her chances of getting pregnant without additional fertility treatment.

Dr. Sameh Toma, of the North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine just outside of Raleigh, NC, says tubal reversal is an economical option at just $4,550 compared to a $10,000 cost for IVF. “Tubal reversal, especially in our practice, is more economical [than IVF] in most cases when comparing same age women as long as there is ample tube to perform the procedure…However, in cases where the tube is too short, IVF is the better option,” he says. If a patient desires only one pregnancy or if there is male factor infertility, IVF rather than tubal reversal, is the recommended course of treatment.

Pregnancy Success Rates After Tubal Ligation

Success rates for each procedure should be taken into consideration. The pregnancy success rates of tubal reversal and IVF largely depend on the age of the patient. Toma states: “For the under 30 group, [pregnancy after] tubal reversal rates are as high as 75-80% while IVF has rates of 50-60% for double the cost. At age 35, [pregnancy after] tubal reversal rates are 70-75% while IVF is 40-50%.” A thorough fertility work up is recommended to determine if a tubal reversal or IVF will deliver greater chances of pregnancy after tubal ligation.

Risks of Tubal Reversal

As with any surgical procedure, risks of tubal reversal include infection, internal injury, or reaction to anesthesia. Fortunately, advances in the field have allowed for improved antibiotics and smaller incision size. Physicians specializing in tubal reversal are trained to handle any adverse event during surgery. Patients are typically released from recovery on the same day as their tubal reversal procedure.

To determine which procedure is right for you, you should consider your age, costs, and number of desired pregnancies. A fallopian tube specialist can best estimate how successful your tubal reversal will be, and the likelihood of conception after tubal reversal versus IVF. To find a fertility doctor in your area who specializes in tubal reversal or IVF after tubal ligation, please contact our Patient Care Coordinators at 1-855-955-BABY (2229).


Comments (3)

I know Lisa's comment is old but the warning still stands; It's very dangerous to attempt pregnancy with tubal ligation. There's a serous risk of a pregnancy being ectopic which can be fatal to you and always is for the embryo. Not to mention the point of it is to prevent conception so chances conceiving at all with one are slim. Seems I can't post links to sources without triggering the spam filter, but please research yourself.

I have a question rather than a comment. I am a 48 yr old widowed mother, my husband passed away 3 1/2 yrs ago. I had 5 miscarriages before I was able to carry my only child to full term. She was born healthy and continues to be healthy. I had a tubal done on the day that she was born, my husband didn't want any more children. I wasn't sure but I did it for him. Expecting to be with him until we were old and gray. Now that he is gone I have reconnected with my high school sweetheart and we wish to have a child, his child was my first miscarriage. I guess my question is... What are my odds of getting pregnant after having a tubal almost 14 yrs ago? I have heard of women getting pregnant "accidentally" after the 10 yr mark of their tubal. Like I said, we would love to have a child together but cannot afford the reversal or the IVF. Thanks Lisa

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