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What are the chances of being pregnant with tubal ligation?

Thursday, 19 May 2005
Answered by: Dr. Jean-Jacques Amy
Professor and Head, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology,
School of Medicine and Pharmacy, University Hospital, Vrije Universiteit Brussel,
Brussels
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Q. I was wondering if I could be pregnant inspite of a tubal ligation done by Filshie clips? Last month my period was due around the 10th and I was 19 days late for it. I finally got what I think was my period on the 29th, but it was not heavy like a normal period and I did not lose any blood clots and it only lasted 3 or 4 days. It was bright pink in colour. I had dizziness, fatigue and nausea. This month I was supposed to start around the 10th again but I have not yet started my period at all. I get cramps but I have no other signs of my period. I also had cramps last month along the time I was suppose to start. What are the chances of me getting pregnant with a tubal ligation consisting of Filshie clips? I have taken 3 home pregnancy tests which all have been negative. What is my chances of being pregnant? I am 26 years old and I had my tubal ligation done five years back.

A.  Everything can fail. Tubal sterilization also does, even several years after it was carried out. The symptoms you described are comparable to those of a woman suffering from an extra-uterine pregnancy (pregnancy that develops in the tube, rather than in the womb). The fact that the three pregnancy tests were negative is obviously reassuring, but it may be that the tests were insufficiently sensitive. Of course, the delay in menstruating and the other symptoms you mentioned could have been due to some other, yet undetermined cause. I should advise you to have an ultrasound of the uterus (womb), Fallopian tubes, and ovaries. If this examination does not reveal any anomaly, you might consider to submit yourself to a hysterosalpingography (series of radiographs taken after injection of a radio-opaque dye in the uterus) to ascertain that the Fallopian tubes are not patent (that is : are still correctly closed by the Filshie clips). I sincerely hope that everything turns out well.

A.  Everything can fail. Tubal sterilization also does, even several years after it was carried out. The symptoms you described are comparable to those of a woman suffering from an extra-uterine pregnancy (pregnancy that develops in the tube, rather than in the womb). The fact that the three pregnancy tests were negative is obviously reassuring, but it may be that the tests were insufficiently sensitive. Of course, the delay in menstruating and the other symptoms you mentioned could have been due to some other, yet undetermined cause. I should advise you to have an ultrasound of the uterus (womb), Fallopian tubes, and ovaries. If this examination does not reveal any anomaly, you might consider to submit yourself to a hysterosalpingography (series of radiographs taken after injection of a radio-opaque dye in the uterus) to ascertain that the Fallopian tubes are not patent (that is : are still correctly closed by the Filshie clips). I sincerely hope that everything turns out well.

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