- A permanent solution for those who know they do not want a future pregnancy in the future. Available for male and female bodies
- Effectiveness: very effective. 99 of every 100 individuals will successfully prevent a pregnant with these methods.
- Side effects: possible pain or discomfort right after procedure
- Effort: low. You have the procedure once, and you are done
- Doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Both men and women can opt for sterilization. For women, sterilization is a procedure that closes or blocks your fallopian tubes so you cannot get pregnant. For men, sterilization is called a vasectomy. It blocks the tubes that carry a man’s sperm. Talk to a health care provider to learn more and be sure to ask about any requirements, like age restrictions and waiting periods.
Types of sterilization:
Incision. Both men and women have the option of sterilization with an incision. For women, the Laparoscopy, Mini-Laparotomy, and Laparotomy require an incision. Because of that, they also require anesthesia. It can take anywhere from 2-21 days to recover from the surgery.
The incision-based vasectomy for men takes 20 minutes. It requires only a local anesthetic. Providers will make one or two incisions to the scrotum so that sperm cannot enter the seminal fluid. Since sperm cannot come out, the woman cannot get pregnant.
Non-incision. Essure is a procedure for women that does not involve surgery or anesthesia. The fallopian tubes are reached through the vagina, where micro-inserts are placed. These inserts cause scar tissue to grow that blocks the tubes. Recovery is “same-day” and should not impact normal activities. The scar tissue takes several months to form and make this method effective.
The no-scalpel vasectomy method for men involves a tiny puncture that reaches his tubes. His tubes are then tied off, cauterized, or blocked. There is no scarring, no stitches, and this procedure is known for healing quite fast without complications.
Total certainty. Before you get sterilized, you need to be 100% sure you do not want to have biological children.
Who should get the procedure? Sterilization can be done for men or women, so if you are planning to be with the same partner for a while, talk about who should get the procedure.
No hormone worries. If you do not want to use a hormonal method, this is one option. Plus, sterilization does not change your body’s natural hormones.
Your family is big enough. This is a good option if you already have enough kids, or you do not want any kids.
If the pregnancy would cause serious health issues. If there is a medical reason why you or your partner should not ever get pregnant, sterilization might be a good option.
Availability. Would you like to use this method? This method is available in all countries. However, there may be restrictions about age and spousal or parental consent. Check out the “Methods in my country” section to learn more
How To Use
There are two different types of sterilization methods: incision (a health care provider makes cuts) and non-incision (no cuts).
For women: The incision methods include Laparoscopy, Mini-laparotomy, and Laparotomy. Laparotomy is the most major surgery of the three, but it is also the least common. It requires a hospital stay for a couple of days and recovery can take weeks. Laparoscopy and Mini-Laparotomy are less intense, do not necessarily involve overnight hospitalization, and recovery time is faster.
With the non-incision method Essure, a skinny, tube-like instrument passes through the opening of your cervix and uterus so that a small insert can be placed in each fallopian tube. Essure contains a 1 ½” metal coil; scar tissue forms around the inserts to block your tubes.
Non-incision sterilization is simpler and less expensive: actual insertion can take just three to 15 minutes, and you go home the same day. You do not need general anesthesia or surgery, and you recover faster. Plus, no cut means no visible scar. You will need to use a second method for three months, then have an x-ray to be sure the tubes are fully blocked. The incision methods are effective immediately.
For men: the incision method is a vasectomy. It is a quick procedure that requires a visit to a healthcare provider, but no overnight stay in a clinic or hospital. The provider will use local anesthesia to numb the scrotum, make a small incision, then tie and cut or seal the tubes. The incision will block sperm from passing into the semen, but sperm may stick around in the tubes for a few months. The incision will heal quickly and does not need stitches, but you should use another method of contraception for three months (like a condom).
Everyone is different. What you experience may not be the same thing as another person.
- You can have sex without worrying about pregnancy
- Have the procedure once, and never have to think about it again
- No hormones introduced into your body
- A very rare risk that your tubes may reconnect themselves – which could lead to a pregnancy
- Possible complications with surgery, like bleeding, infection, or a reaction to anesthesia
- For the Essure method, the coils may move out of place
- Also with Essure, the uterus could be damaged during insertion (this is rare)
We are here to help you. If it still does not feel right, we have ideas for other methods. There is a method for everyone, everywhere!
Why am I exhausted and sore even though I had the sterilization procedure several weeks ago?
- It is normal to be sore and tired for days or even weeks after the procedure. However, if you are concerned, or if you do not start to regain your strength soon, you should check in with your health care provider just in case.
What if I am sterilized but am having pregnancy symptoms? Could I be pregnant?
- Sterilization is extremely effective and is intended to be permanent. Nevertheless, about 5 of every 1,000 women become pregnant within a year after the procedure, and that small risk remains until menopause.
- Get a pregnancy test if you are worried that you may be pregnant.
I had an endometrial ablation and am concerned about getting pregnant. Is sterilization a good idea?
- Pregnancy after ablation is unlikely and not recommended. However, it can happen. Women who have had an endometrial ablation (a.k.a. uterine ablation) should use contraception until after menopause. While it may be possible to get pregnant after this procedure, pregnancy after endometrial ablation can be complicated, so you should not get sterilized unless you are sure you do not want (more) kids. Sterilization may be a good option if you have had an endometrial ablation to make sure you never have to worry about an unplanned pregnancy.