Can I get pregnant after a hysterectomy?
The answer to this question is riddled with other questions. What is the definition of a hysterectomy? Can a woman carry a child with no uterus? Can somebody else carry a child for her if she has no uterus?
A hysterectomy is the removal of the woman's reproductive organs. A partial hysterectomy involves removal of the uterus only, a complete hysterectomy involves removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) and both ovaries (salpingo-oophorectomy) too. Depending on the type of hysterectomy the woman has undergone, and especially if one or both ovaries are still in place, there may be some chance left that an egg can be released and fertilized by a sperm.
No Uterus / No Normal Pregnancy
If a female has had her uterus removed, there is a close to 0% chance a baby will be born from that female’s body. There is, however, a minute chance that during the ovulation process, the egg will be released and fertilized by a sperm. These very rare cases of pregnancy after a hysterectomy are so-called “ectopic pregnancies”, where the fertilized egg will attach to the abdominal wall, or some other organ such as the biowel, bladder, ovary, or even the liver. If the fetus finds a blood supply sufficient to maintain growth for the first few weeks, it may grow further. This situation can be lif-threatening because the pregnancy may rupture and there could be sevvere bleeding which can only be stopped by surgery. Detecting this type of pregnancy is difficult due to the fact that the woman may not be having periods due to the hysterectomy. Abdominal pain and bleeding may lead the female to the doctor where the pregnancy will need to surgically removed to save mom’s life.
However, if the woman has had only one ovary or one fallopian tube removed and the uterus remains intact, there is a great chance that she will become pregnant in the future. Only one ovary and one fallopian tube is needed to release an egg to be fertilized. While this form of ovary removal is normally not defined as a true hysterectomy, many women feel the removal of an ovary or fallopian tube could be a hysterectomy.
There is a way for woman who had a uterus removed to have a baby, though somebody else has to carry it for her (surrogate). This can only happen if she has one or both ovaries left. Eggs can be removed, fertilized outside the body, and a surrogate can then become pregnant and carry her baby.
Total Removal of the Ovaries and Fallopian Tubes
The female who has her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed will most often have the uterus removed as well. When this procedure is done, known as a total hysterectomy with bilateral oophorectomy, there is zero chance of getting pregnant. The cervix is most often removed along with the other female organs and the upper end of the vagina is closed with sutures. The result is surgical menopause and no place for the sperm to go, let alone no eggs to fertilize.
The chances of getting pregnant after a hysterectomy will certainly depend upon the woman’s definition of a hysterectomy. The term hysterectomy, itself, is the definition of sterility. If there is a fallopian tube attached to a viable ovary, fertility in most cases will not be affected. However, the scarring left by the removal of any female organs can lead to future troubles getting pregnant.