Can You Get Pregnant After a Hysterectomy

To get pregnant after a hysterectomy is so rare, it is safe to say the chances are zero. In all of medical history worldwide, there have been fewer than fifty cases reported of pregnancy after a hysterectomy and very few incidences of live birth. To understand why pregnancy is not possible, one must first understand what a hysterectomy is.

Hysterectomy

There are three types of hysterectomies. First, there is a total hysterectomy, which involves removing a woman’s uterus and cervix. Second is a partial or subtotal hysterectomy, in which only the upper part of the uterus is removed and the cervix is left. The third type is a radical hysterectomy in which the uterus, entire cervix and the upper part of the vagina is removed. The ovaries and fallopian tubes may or may not remain. Generally, if the are ovaries and tubes are healthy, they will not be removed in younger women so as to prevent early menopause. Often the tubes are tied during the procedure to prevent possible ectopic pregnancies. In all cases, the upper part of the vagina or cervix is stitched up to form a cuff.

How does a hysterectomy make a woman sterile?

The womb or uterus is the only organ that can produce a viable fetus. With the absence of uterus, any potential fetus will be unable to attach and therefore will be unable to grow into a baby. In addition, the formation of the vaginal or cervical cuff makes it impossible for sperm to enter a woman’s body, which makes it impossible for a woman’s egg to be fertilized at all. Any egg that is released by the woman’s ovaries will remain unfertilized and be absorbed by her body.

Rare cases of pregnancy after hysterectomy

All these cases are called ectopic pregnancies, where a fetus begins to form in or on an organ other than the uterus. These pregnancies are very seldom viable. In most of the cases of pregnancy after a hysterectomy, the woman was already pregnant when the hysterectomy was performed, and the fertilized egg was in the fallopian tube. The fertilized egg then either implanted in the fallopian tube, in the abdomen or on the cervix. The egg can also implant on other abdominal organs. There was a case of a New Zealand woman where the fertilized egg attached to the bowel and resulted in the live birth by c-section of a five-pound baby girl.

Even though there have been reported medically genuine pregnancies and births after a hysterectomy procedure, they are exceedingly rare, and no woman who has undergone a hysterectomy should entertain the thought of getting pregnant. It simply is not possible. Women who wish to have a child after having undergone this procedure should look at harvesting their eggs (if possible) and using a surrogate mother or should consider adoption.

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