Live birth following day surgery reversal of female sterilisation in women older than 40 years: a realistic option in Australia?

Oswald M Petrucco, Sherman J Silber, Sarah L Chamberlain, Graham M Warnes and Michael Davies
Med J Aust 2007; 187 (5): 271-273.


Objective: To determine the live birth rate following surgical reversal of sterilisation in women aged 40 years and older.

Design: Retrospective cohort study of pregnancy outcome following day surgery microsurgical reversal of sterilisation performed by two reproductive microsurgeons in the private sector.

Setting and patients: 47 patients (aged 40 years or older) who had reversal of sterilisation performed between 1997 and 2005 in Adelaide, South Australia (n = 35), or the Infertility Centre of St Louis, Missouri, USA (n = 12).

Main outcome measures: Independently audited live birth surviving the neonatal period.

Results: Of the 47 patients on whom follow-up was obtainable from the two centres, 19 (40%) had a live birth, 7 had had only a first trimester miscarriage at the time of follow-up, and 21 (44%) had failed to conceive. Age at conception ranged between 40 and 47 years. Two women had two live births following surgery. The total direct costs (Australian dollars, adjusted to 2005) in Australia were $4850 per treatment, and $11 317 per live birth. The corresponding direct cost of a single cycle of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in Australia has been estimated at $6940, with a cost per live birth of $97 884 for women aged 40–42 years and $182 794 for older women.

Conclusion: Previously sterilised women wanting further pregnancy should be offered tubal surgery as an alternative to IVF, as it offers them the opportunity to have an entirely natural pregnancy. In settings where IVF is financially supported by government agencies or insurance, tubal reversal is a highly cost-effective strategy for the previously fertile woman.

  • Oswald M Petrucco1
  • Sherman J Silber2
  • Sarah L Chamberlain1
  • Graham M Warnes1,3
  • Michael Davies1

  • 1 Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA.
  • 2 Infertility Center of St Louis, St Luke’s Hospital, St Louis, Mo, USA.
  • 3 Repromed Pty Ltd, Adelaide, SA.

Competing interests:

None identified.

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