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Demand For Reverse Tubal Ligation On Rise

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CARY, N.C. — Many women have their tubes "tied" when they are finished having children. Tubal ligation is intended to be permanent, but there are times when a woman changes her mind.

Tamessa Rivers thought she was finished having children. The mother of two had her tubes tied six years ago. After marrying her husband, Joel, the two dreamed of having a child together.

"I just really didn't think I could get pregnant," River said.

There was an option. Rivers' doctor, in her hometown of Pageland, S.C., told her about the North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine in Cary, and a procedure to surgically reconnect her tubes.

"It took us a while to think about it, but it was worth a shot," Joel Rivers said.

More couples are making that same decision. Reproductive surgeon Dr. Sameh Toma says he performs more tubal reversals than ever.

"The most common reason is divorce," he said. "[Women] remarry, and they have a new husband that they would like to have a child with."

Doctors tie tubes several different ways. The procedure cuts off the fallopian tubes so when eggs are released they are absorbed into the body.

Toma does not know if he can reconnect the tubes until surgery. Using a microscope, he can tell if there is enough tube left.

"Usually, I say it's a one shot thing," he said.

Success rates are up to 80 percent, depending on how the original procedure was done and the woman's age.

Tamessa Rivers had the procedure in November 2002 and was pregnant by January 2003.

"That was the happiest day of my life," her husband said.

Joel Rivers II was born in October.

"Nothing can compare to the feeling. It's unbelievable," the proud father said.

The procedure costs around $6,000 and is not covered by insurance.


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