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Sterilization surgery - making a decision

Deciding to have sterilization surgery

Information

Sterilization surgery is a procedure to permanently prevent reproduction.

  • Surgery in women is called tubal ligation.
  • Surgery in men is called a vasectomy.

People who do not want to have any more children may choose to have sterilization surgery. However, some may regret the decision later. Men or women who are younger at the time they have surgery are more likely to change their minds and want children in the future. Even though either procedure can sometimes be reversed, both must be considered permanent forms of birth control.

When deciding if you want to have a sterilization procedure, it is important to consider:

  • Whether or not you want any more children in the future
  • What you might want to do if something were to happen to your spouse or any of your children

If you answered that you might want to have another child, then sterilization is not the best option for you.

There are other options for preventing pregnancy that are not permanent. Talk to your health care provider about all the options available to you before making the decision to have a sterilization procedure.

References

Isley MM, Katz VL. Postpartum care and long-term health considerations. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 23.

Rivlin K, Westhoff C. Family planning. In:  Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 13.

  • Hysterectomy

    Hysterectomy - illustration

    Hysterectomy is surgical removal of the uterus, resulting in inability to become pregnant. This surgery may be done for a variety of reasons including, but not restricted to, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids and cancer. A hysterectomy may be done through an abdominal or a vaginal incision.

    Hysterectomy

    illustration

  • Tubal ligation

    Tubal ligation - illustration

    Surgical sterilization which permanently prevents the transport of the egg to the uterus by means of sealing the fallopian tubes is called tubal ligation, commonly called having one's tubes tied. This operation can be performed laparoscopically or in conjunction with a Cesarean section, after the baby is delivered. Tubal ligation is considered permanent but reversals can be done in many cases.

    Tubal ligation

    illustration

  • Tubal ligation  - series

    Tubal ligation - series

    Presentation

    • Hysterectomy

      Hysterectomy - illustration

      Hysterectomy is surgical removal of the uterus, resulting in inability to become pregnant. This surgery may be done for a variety of reasons including, but not restricted to, chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids and cancer. A hysterectomy may be done through an abdominal or a vaginal incision.

      Hysterectomy

      illustration

    • Tubal ligation

      Tubal ligation - illustration

      Surgical sterilization which permanently prevents the transport of the egg to the uterus by means of sealing the fallopian tubes is called tubal ligation, commonly called having one's tubes tied. This operation can be performed laparoscopically or in conjunction with a Cesarean section, after the baby is delivered. Tubal ligation is considered permanent but reversals can be done in many cases.

      Tubal ligation

      illustration

    • Tubal ligation - series

      Presentation

    A Closer Look

     
     

    Review Date: 1/14/2018

    Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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