Question:

Why might someone get pregnant after a tubal ligation?

Pregnancy after Tubal Ligation

Tubal ligation is considered a permanent form of birth control for women who choose not to have any children or future children. During the procedure, the fallopian tubes are either clipped, cut or cauterized. Sometimes a section of the tube is removed.

But for a small number of women, pregnancy does occur after tubal ligation, even without a tubal reversal. The most common causes of this include:

  1. If the tubes are clipped, the clips may not be clamped tightly enough, and sperm can swim through minute openings, to fertilize eggs within the fallopian tubes. Since the egg may be too large to pass beyond the clip, it begins to divide to become a fetus, within the fallopian tube. This is called an ectopic (pronounced "eck-top-ick") pregnancy. This can be life threatening.
  2. If the tubes are cut, but segments are not taken out to create space between the tube ends, the tubes can spontaneous reconnect in what is called recanalization.
  3. The woman had intercourse the night prior to the procedure and sperm already had swam up the fallopian tube. Following the tubal ligation, if an egg was released and then fertilized, it will develop above the ligation, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy. This chance of this is very rare.
Of course, if a woman opts to have a tubal reversal, she can become pregnant, however this is not directly related to, or immediately following, the tubal procedure

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