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Wondering where egg cells go when a woman had her tubes tied?
Data gathered by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) U.S. National Library of Medicine indicates that bilateral tubal ligation is one of the most popular forms of sterilization at present with 10.3 million American women who have undergone this procedure for contraception. With its high prevalence rate, there are also a lot of mid-boggling questions about this permanent birth control method that needs to be clarified.
If you’re someone who has had the procedure recently or is considering it, let’s take a closer look at the things that happen within a woman’s body after tubal ligation.
A Brief Discussion Of A Woman’s Reproductive Cycle
For most women, an indication of a regular cycle is their monthly period or menstruation. So where does this bleeding come from?
Normally, a fertile woman releases an egg cell from her ovaries each month to travel to the fallopian tube and wait for the strongest sperm. Consecutively, the ovaries produce a female hormone called progesterone, which in turn signals the body for the “need to prepare” in case the egg will be fertilized by a sperm and result in a pregnancy.
The preparation includes the thickening of the uterine lining and nourishment of the underlying blood vessels so that in the event fertilization occurs, it has enough cushion and blood supply for the upcoming baby. However, in the event that fertilization does not occur, the hormonal levels will start to drop and the uterine lining will eventually shed off. The parts that are shed off, along with the blood, are what go out of the body during menstruation.
Okay, so where did the egg go? We have a common belief that the unfertilized egg is what we see coming out with blood during our monthly period – this one’s a misconception. To get a simple understanding of the things happening within a woman’s body, let’s take a look at the following facts.
Fact #1: An egg cell is invisible to the naked eye.
Oh, you can’t actually see it without the help of a microscope. So it is definitely not one of those noticeable remnants in your sanitary pad.
Fact #2: Not all egg cells reach the fallopian tube.
When you take a closer look at a picture of a female reproductive organ, the ovaries are not directly connected to the fallopian tube. So this “gap” makes some egg cells stay at the abdominal cavity and if unfertilized, they die there as well.
Fact #3: Our body can dissolve and reabsorb a dead cell.
The cells in the body are programmed to self-destruct at certain periods of time. The unfertilized egg cell has a certain expiration of around two days. Our body is so efficient that it can dissolve and reabsorb the dead cells in a process called apoptosis.
The Role Of Tubal Ligation
With this brief background about the physiology of the female reproductive system, we can now correlate how tubal ligation affects it.
Tubal ligation refers to the surgical procedure wherein a small portion of the fallopian tubes are cut and blocked to prevent the egg cell from meeting the sperm. With this permanent method of contraception, fertilization is barred and thus, pregnancy is prevented.
Therefore, tubal ligation doesn’t have direct effects on the egg cells that are continuously released by the ovaries. The egg cell stays beyond the ligated area, expires, dissolves and is reabsorbed. This is the same process even when a woman is not ligated.
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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a doctor or licensed medical professional before making any medical decisions.