Can You Get Pregnant With Your Tubes Tied? We Asked an Expert
Everything to know about the risks of getting pregnant after tubal ligation.
Getting pregnant is always a possibility among sexually active couples, but as many of us know, using contraception can significantly lower that risk. But even the most effective forms of birth control aren’t always 100%. For one husband and wife, having six kids has made their sex life strained—despite the wife getting her tubes tied.
A woman took to Reddit’s r/sex to explain that her husband is so afraid of having another child, he won’t have intercourse with her.
“I’m in quite the pickle and not sure what to do. My husband is batshit crazy and getting on my last nerves,” the woman wrote in her post. “He refuses to sleep with me out of fear of getting me pregnant. We have six, and we both agreed no more. I got my tubes tied and now he is still refusing sex out of fear that one of his little soldiers will get through???”
She added, “Wtf should I say to him or do? Has anyone ever dealt with this? Is he crazy?”
Getting your tubes tied—also known as tubal ligation—is an incredibly effective way to prevent pregnancy. During the procedure, a woman’s fallopian tubes are either cut, tied, or blocked as a form of permanent birth control. This not only prevents a woman’s egg from traveling from the ovaries to the fallopian tubes, but it also prevents any sperm from traveling up the fallopian tubes to meet an egg.
While tubal ligation is one of the most effective forms of birth control, it has its flaws. There is still a chance of becoming pregnant after having your tubes tied: the rate of pregnancy is one in 1,000 after the first year, and between two and 10 in 1,000 after five years, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
"Pregnancies have been reported after surgical sterilization, but are rare," Eleanor Schwarz, MD, a women’s health researcher and professor of medicine at the University of California Davis, Sacramento, tells Health. "Most couples do not have to worry about getting pregnant if they have sex after a woman 'has her tubes tied.'"
Not to mention, if you do happen to get pregnant after tying your tubes, you have a higher risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies, which occur when the fertilized egg begins to grow inside the fallopian tubes, can cause the fallopian tube to rupture and is potentially fatal.
Reddit users chimed in on the post, suggesting that adding a secondary form of birth control, like a condom or a vasectomy, could further help in preventing another pregnancy—and Dr. Schwarz agrees.
"The most effective way for men to avoid an undesired pregnancy is for him to undergo vasectomy," says Schwarz.