Vasectomy and Tubal Ligation (Sterilization)

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Information, facts, advantages and disadvantages of the procedures. A vasectomy or tubal ligation is highly effective in preventing pregnancy but rarely reversible.

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Methods of Contraception: Permanent Birth Control Methods (sterilization)

  Tubal Ligation in Women
  Vasectomy in Males
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Tubal Ligation in Women (also known as Voluntary Sterilization)

A tubal ligation is an operation in which the Fallopian tubes (where the egg is fertilized by the sperm) are blocked making egg transportation and fertilization almost impossible. Menstruation should not be affected by the operation. Every year thousands of women choose to have this procedure carried out although it is not recommended for women under 30 or women who have not had children.

Before undertaking sterilization the issue should be discussed at great depth with your partner and doctor who will inform you about any risks. You have to be absolutely sure that you will not regret the decision later on in life as once you are sterilized you cannot have any children as it is rarely reversible.

Although tubal ligation has a very high effectiveness rate it is not quite 100 per cent effective against pregnancy. The risk is estimated at one in several hundred women. This page outlines general information to consider when permenant birth control is an option.

What Happens

  • A gynecologist will usually perform the procedure
  • A general anesthetic will usually be given and the operation may possibly be done laparoscopically (a laparoscope is a thin metal 'telescope' that is passed through a tiny incision in the tummy to let the surgeon see your tubes)
  • An instrument is inserted through another small cut and this instrument places a clip or ring on each tube.
  • An operation where the Fallopian tubes are actually cut is less common these dayas. This is carried out through an incision in the abdomen or through the vagina.

Some possible problems after sterilization occurs can be:

  • mild bleeding or infection right after operation
  • negative reaction to anesthetic
  • bruising where the incision is made
  • very rare injury to blood vessels or bowels

no need to worry about birth control

rarely reversible
sex is not interrupted for some women post sterilization periods are heavier
sexual pleasure is not decreased and hormone production and libido should remain the same some pain shortly after operation
  some change their mind and regret not being able to have children

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Vasectomy in Males

After careful consideration, any man can choose to be sterilized by having a vasectomy, although it is not recommended for very young men or those without children. The doctor will tell you how the sterilization procedure works and inform you of any risks involved. Both procedures require surgery but a vasectomy is a simpler procedure than the sterilization of women. The man must make absolutely sure of this before he goes ahead in terms of not being able to father children. Although it is possible to have a vasectomy reversed this procedure is frequently unsuccessful.

What Happens

  • A vasectomy is an operation which separates the tubes between the testes and penis.
  • Ejaculation can still occur even though there is no sperm in their semen.
  • During the operation a little cut is made on each side of the scrotum so that a small piece of the tubes that carry sperm (vas deferens) can be removed or cut and closed at the ends.

After the operation most men will be a bit sore and bruised and an athletic support should be worn for a week or so after the vasectomy. Warm baths are also very soothing to ease the discomfort.

Contact your doctor should the following occur:

  • bleeding
  • blood clot in or near the testicles
  • bruises, swelling, or tenderness of the scrotum
  • increase in temperature
  • infection
  • noticeable swelling
  • sperm leakage may form temporary small lumps near testicles

You can have sex as soon as you feel like it after the operation. There will still be some sperm left in the tubes that lead to the penis so additional contraceptive methods must be used until tests show no semen left in the tubes. Two semen tests, 2 to 4 weeks apart, are needed about three months after surgery to determine if all the sperm has gone. Two clear tests without any sperm are needed before you can totally rely on your vasectomy without using additional contraception

Vasectomies have a very high effectiveness rate, although it is estimated that about one in 1000 vasectomies fails. Occasionally pregnancies do occur so it is important to have the surgery carried out by a doctor experienced in performing vasectomies.


no need to worry about birth control

rarely reversible
sex is not interrupted some pain shortly after operation
  slight chance of minor infection after surgery
  some change their mind and regret not being able to have children

To read more information about Male Vasectomy click here.

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