What Is Tubal Ligation?

How does a tubal ligation work? Is it possible to have it reversed?
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profile picture of Lowell T. Ku, MD, reproductive endocrinologist, Dallas IVF
Updated January 30, 2017
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Tubal ligation — aka “having your tubes tied” is one of the most common methods of permanent birth control. With this procedure, your fallopian tubes are cut, clamped off or burned (cauterized) so an egg can no longer be released and fertilized. The surgery is usually performed laparoscopically (through or near your belly button) and only takes about a half hour. On the positive side, tubal ligation is an easy way to ensure you won’t have an accidental pregnancy (only about 1 out of every 200 women who have had the procedure get pregnant later). There are no pills to remember to take, shots to get or devices to insert. However, it’s also much more difficult to change your mind than with other birth control methods. Although some of the procedures are reversible, it’s a more complicated surgery than having them snipped in the first place. Only 50 to 80 percent of women who choose to have their tubal ligation reversed are actually able to get pregnant afterward. Clamped tubes are easier to reverse than other methods. If you’re thinking about tubal ligation, talk to your partner to make sure you’re on the same page with your family-planning needs and wants and really make sure that you don’t want to have another baby.

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Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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