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What To Do If Your Sterilisation Has Failed

For the most part, female sterilisations are a safe and effective option for women who no longer wish to have children. However, every year there is a small number of cases in which a sterilisation procedure is found to have failed. In this article we explore the reasons why this permanent method of birth control might fail, helping you to understand what to do if this has happened to you.

Why might a sterilisation fail?

A female sterilisation may fail for one of the following three reasons:-

1. Recanalization

Recanalization is when the fallopian tubes naturally re-join of their own accord. It is a known risk of sterilisation, of which a woman should be well informed before she signs the consent form. Unfortunately nothing can be done to prevent this from happening, and it is often only when a woman falls pregnant that the problem becomes apparent. Ordinarily this will be some years after the operation.

2. The clips fall off

Currently in the UK, the standard technique for a sterilisation procedure is to apply two Filshie clips to each fallopian tube, thereby preventing the egg travelling down into the uterus. Once applied, doctors should take photos of the tubes to ensure the clips have been properly fastened. Even so, it is possible for the clips to fall off at a later stage. Again, this is a known risk of sterilisation and there is little that can be done to prevent it.

3. Medical error

A sterilisation may also fail due to medical error. This will usually occur because the surgeon does not display the necessary level of skill and expertise and so fails to attach the Filshie clips correctly. Furthermore, the surgeon may fail to take photographs of the clipped fallopian tubes (as is now required) and therefore remain ignorant of the mistake.

Failed sterilisation and medical errors

Often it is only possible to determine the cause of a failed sterilisation when a second procedure is carried out. However, it is usually safe to say that if a woman falls pregnant years after the procedure she has experienced recanalization. Other the other hand if she falls pregnant soon after the operation either the clips have fallen of or there is a case of medical negligence. If it is the latter, doctors performing the second procedure may find that:-

  • A clip was only attached to one fallopian tube;
  • Clips were not attached to either fallopian tube;
  • Clip were attached to both tubes but not properly fastened.

What action can you take for sterilisation medical negligence?

If your sterilisation has failed because of medical negligence, you will be able to make a claim for the damage you have suffered. To find out more information, you need to speak to a solicitor about your treatment as soon as possible.

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