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Is Pregnancy Possible After a Hysterectomy?

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Updated April 09, 2011

Pregnancy after Hysterectomy Surgery?

Laparoscopic Hysterectomy Surgery

Photo © A.D.A.M.
Question: Is Pregnancy Possible After a Hysterectomy?
Answer:

The simple answer is no. The more accurate answer is you won’t be able to become pregnant and carry the fetus to term. Confusing, I know. Let me explain.

After a hysterectomy, you will no longer be able to bear children. During the procedure the uterus, also known as the “womb,” is removed from the body. The uterus is where a baby grows inside the body. So without it, it is impossible to carry a fetus to term.

While a simple “No, you can’t get pregnant after a hysterectomy” is essentially true, there have been a few cases of women who find that they are pregnant after a hysterectomy. This is an extremely rare complication that happens in less than 1 in a 1,000,000 cases. While pregnancy is possible in rare circumstances, the fetus cannot be carried to term without a uterus.

To understand pregnancy after a hysterectomy, you have to understand the concept of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, often in the fallopian tubes, and can be life-threatening. This condition is typically found when a woman seeks medical attention for excruciating abdominal pain. Even in women who have not had a hysterectomy, an ectopic pregnancy cannot become a traditional, healthy pregnancy.

In an “early” ectopic pregnancy after hysterectomy, the woman was actually having an ectopic pregnancy at the time of the procedure. The surgery is completed, and at some point after the procedure, the woman is found to have a fertilized egg growing in the fallopian tubes or another area of the remaining reproductive system.

A “late” ectopic pregnancy after hysterectomy is when a woman who has had a hysterectomy that leaves the ovaries intact experiences an ectopic pregnancy after surgery. Like any ectopic pregnancy, this may become a surgical emergency as the growing fertilized egg damages the fallopian tubes or other structures.

If you want to have children but you need a hysterectomy, you can have eggs harvested with the intention of later implanting a fertilized egg in the uterus of a surrogate.

If you are producing healthy eggs, harvesting can be done before surgery, or, if your ovaries are left intact after the procedure, they can be harvested after your hysterectomy.

Everything You Need To Know About Hysterectomy Surgery

Sources:

Ectopic Pregnancy After Total Hysterectomy. Bruder, ML, Vigilante, M. 1973.

Intraabdominal Pregnancy After Hysterectomy. The New England Journal of Medicine. Accessed January 28, 2009. http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/extract/349/16/1534

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