For women seeking permanent birth control options, their choices have become less limited in the last few decades. Once upon a time, invasive surgical procedures and even complete hysterectomies were the only way to protect against pregnancy without daily doses of pills or seasonal injections.
According to the Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 98 percent of American women of reproductive age have used some form of birth control and 10 million have opted for sterilization. Essure has become a very popular method of birth control for many women.
What is it?
Essure is a permanent birth control option that is performed by a licensed obstetrician. The procedure involved is generally done on an outpatient basis. It is performed hysterocopically, meaning a small device with a camera attached to the end is inserted through the cervix to access the fallopian tubes. A metal coil that looks somewhat like a spring is inserted into each fallopian tube. This whole process takes roughly 30 minutes. Gynemed reported the cost of this procedure is around $2,400 without insurance.
Over the course of about three months, scar tissue will form around the coils that cause the tubes to become blocked. Cramping and some discomfort are considered normal during this time. Then the patient must revisit the doctor to confirm that the process has worked. This process involves either getting an x-ray or a transvaginal ultrasound. To prepare for either of these tests, a special contrasting dye is inserted into the uterus via the cervix. This dye enables doctors to get a good visual of whether it is leaking into the tubes or not. If it isn’t, then the scar tissue has formed correctly and the procedure was a success. If it is, more time is usually allowed. At a follow-up visit, a second confirmation test will be performed. If the blockage still isn’t complete then reassessment may need to be done. Essure is not a perfect fit for all women.
Essure has certainly garnered a reputation for itself as being risky, but this reputation may be lingering a little longer than necessary and painting a slightly inaccurate picture of the Essure process. Not long after the Essure surgery was brought to market, women who underwent it began to complain of pain, worsening periods and other complications. For a while, these complications were written off as being typical side effects that some women — the minority — would face as a result of the procedure.
Over time, cases of reactions to the Essure process came to light. As it would turn out, the product wasn’t properly prescribed to women. The individuals who were having reactions were allergic to nickel, and the inserts used in the Essure process contained nickel. Since women are told some cramping and pain are to be expected following the procedure while the scar tissue develops, it could deter them from asking to be seen when something might really be wrong.
Removal and reversal
Although all women who seek permanent sterilization procedures are discouraged from doing so if there is any chance of them possibly wanting (more) children in the future, most go through with it. Truthfully, it’s hard for anyone to predict what path their life may travel down. In some cases, people decide not to have any more children because of health concerns or financial limits, but both of those things often change throughout life and can leave people wishing they hadn’t made such lasting decisions about their fertility.
For many women who are seeking Essure removal, cost is an issue. The Essure reversal procedures cost around $7,500. The good news is that the chance of pregnancy is roughly 35 percent to 40 percent if the reversal is successful, per Tubal Reversal. On top of the cost involved in getting the procedure done in the first place, it is a procedure that many people struggle to afford. In some cases, loans from financial institutions or family members may be necessary. Health insurance plans typically do not cover the cost of sterilization reversal procedures.
However, if pregnancy is important to the woman then the cost of Essure reversal is likely to be lower than the total cost of other methods of childbearing. Other measures to invoke pregnancy can be expensive. In Vitro Fertilization costs roughly $12,000 on average for just one round, per Forbes Magazine. Most couples will need more than one round to become pregnant. Surrogacy can cost more than $100,000, per Bankrate, sometimes on top of IVF costs. That being said, insurance often pays for portions of IVF, but there may be clauses in place when the patient has had a voluntary sterilization procedure done in the past, especially if the insurance company covered that procedure before.
In some cases, women are seeking removal because Essure has caused them great pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, the procedure is not entirely reversible in everyone; some women will need a hysterectomy to rid themselves of the joint pain, rashes, pelvic pressure and more that Essure has plagued them with. The Essure reversal process is a lot simpler than most people may think. It generally doesn’t take more than 90 minutes, but often can be completed in half that time. How long it takes typically depends on how much scar tissue there is in a woman’s tubes and how easy the tubes are to access. Essure removal costs may total as much as $8,000, per DrugWatch. For both removal and reversal, the Essure inserts are removed along with the scar tissue they caused to form.
If you are seeking an Essure reversal and aren’t sure about your ability to cover the cost of it, there are methods of medical credit available to consumers today who need assistance paying for elective surgeries. Furthermore, your insurance company may be willing to pay for portions of the surgery, such as IV fluids and hospital fees that pertain to all surgical procedures or prescription antibiotics that may be needed to prevent infection following the procedure. It’s worth looking into!