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Q & A with Dr. Cullins: Birth Control

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    I am a 30-year-old woman who had my tubes tied. Now I need to see if I can get a reversal. Does Planned Parenthood help with the reversal? Can you tell me if there is a place I can go that may help me with my situation?

    Reconnecting the tubes after tubal sterilization requires complicated surgery and it is costly. Even if the tubes are reconnected, pregnancy cannot be guaranteed. Reproductive endocrinologists perform these procedures. They are obstetrician gynecologists with special training in infertility. The procedure is called an "anastomosis" the joining of two tubes.

    The doctor will evaluate you to ensure that you are a good candidate for the procedure. You will be examined to be sure that there are no other causes than blocked tubes to prevent you from becoming pregnant. An evaluation will also be made to determine how much tube was removed. This can be done by checking the report from your sterilization procedure, using x-ray dye studies, and with diagnostic laparoscopy a surgical procedure in which the fallopian tubes are viewed by using a light and viewing lens on a tube that is inserted through a small incision made in your navel. Depending on how much tube is left, the doctor may advise in vitro fertilization as your best option for pregnancy.

    Some Planned Parenthood affiliates have referral networks that include infertility specialists. If you have insurance, contact your health plan for referral to an infertility specialist. If you don't have insurance, contact the ob/gyn department of your nearest academic medical school hospital to find a reproductive endocrinologist.

    Women who have tubal sterilizations before they are 30 are more likely to regret it than women who are older. Overall, more than 14 percent of women who have had tubal sterilizations request reversals, but only about one percent obtain them. Some women elect in vitro fertilization instead of attempting reversal. Others turn to adoption when they discover they want children after tubal sterilization.

    Sterilization for women and men is the one of the most popular methods of contraception worldwide.  Sterilization is not easily reversed because it is meant to be permanent.

This column is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have a medical problem, please call toll-free 1-800-230-PLAN for an appointment with the Planned Parenthood health center nearest you.

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