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When you make a decision to undergo a female sterilisation or vasectomy operation, the last thing you expect is for the operation not to work. Unfortunately this does happen. If you are facing this situation, we can help you.
What is Sterilisation?
During a female sterilisation, the fallopian tubes are cut or blocked preventing eggs travelling from the ovaries to the womb. Female sterilisation is statistically less effective than a vasectomy, with a vasectomy being advised by the NHS as the more reliable sterilisation procedure.
A vasectomy is a process of male sterilisation which prevents the male from being fertile anymore. It is considered to be a permanent process in most cases; however it sometimes can be surgically reversed or may be self-reversing. The tubes which carry sperm from the testicles are severed during a vasectomy; ensuring sperm will no longer be present in the semen.
Vasectomies are not always successful; in fact as many as 1 in 100 vasectomies fail. As with other forms of birth control they are not always 100 per cent effective. A failed vasectomy can cause a huge amount of emotional stress.
Both sterilisation procedures are relatively painless and individuals can have the procedure done and be back at home within one day. In many cases it is older people who decide to have the procedure with most female sterilisations being carried out in women over 30 who already have children.
In both instances, a lot of consideration has been made by the couple or individual to decide to undergo the treatment. There are often extremely important reasons behind the decision to have a vasectomy or a sterilisation operation. Therefore, if you become pregnant following a sterilisation it can bring up multiple issues, including ethical considerations as to whether or not to keep the unborn child, the effect it will have on you, your partner and other children and also whether you feel the child will have the quality of life they deserve.
What Causes Sterilisation Failure?
Commonly female sterilisations fail due to surgical negligence in terms of attaching the clips which block the fallopian tubes. If the clips are not attached properly or in the correct place the eggs will still be able to travel to the womb.
More often than not, sterilisation failure will occur in one of two ways. Firstly, it is possible for your fallopian tubes to re-join naturally. This is known as recanalization, and is a known risk of sterilisation. However, the process of recanalization often takes many years; therefore if you have become pregnant a long time after having the procedure, it is likely that you are one of the few women whose tubes have grown back together. This is entirely unavoidable, and thus cannot be considered negligent.
On the flip side, it is possible for sterilisation to fail due to medical error. Nowadays, Filshie clips are attached to each fallopian tube, and photos are taken to prove that they have been successful placed. Occasionally, the clips will fall off, which again is not something that can be prevented. However, there are times in which the surgeon simply fails to attach the clips correctly. If so, this will be a serious case of medical negligence.
Find out more about the reasons for vasectomy failure.
Claims for Sterilisation Failure
Usually a claim for medical negligence can be difficult to prove. However, a failed sterilisation claim is generally very straightforward as the unwanted pregnancy is proof in itself that the sterilisation has not worked as was intended.
Whether or not you continue with your pregnancy, if you have fallen pregnant because a sterilisation has been negligently performed, you will be able to make a medical negligence claim. A legal expert who specialises in this area of the law will be able to advise you further. However, the very fact that you have fallen pregnant is proof that the sterilisation has failed. Therefore it is very likely that you will be able to claim compensation for damage caused by wrongful conception, or if you continue with the pregnancy, by wrongful birth.
1stClaims does not charge you for using our service and all initial enquiries with our Solicitors are also free of charge, so rest assured, this initial step of making an enquiry will not cost you anything.
Once one of our Solicitors has assessed the merits of your enquiry they will make a judgement on the likely chances of bringing a successful claim and if the prospects are good, they will normally offer to take your case on a No Win No Fee basis. You can find out more about No Win No Fee arrangements and the potential costs that can be incurred by clicking here.
How Much Compensation for a Failed Sterilisation?
The law now states that for an unwanted pregnancy the award should be as follows:
- £15,000 for the infringement of the right to limit your family size
- £5,000 for the pain and suffering of labour
- Compensation for loss of earnings during your maternity leave
- The additional costs of new baby equipment such as prams, cots etc
Do You Need Help With A Failed Sterilisation?
At 1stClaims we offer a free, no obligation discussion with one of our expert medical negligence solicitors so that you can discuss any issues that may be confusing you. Call us free on 0800 2888 693 or complete our Failed Sterilisation Medical Negligence enquiry form so that we can discuss all of your options. To return to our medical negligence home page click here.
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