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Birth Control Permanent Methods

Birth Control Permanent Methods Introduction

Sterilization is considered a permanent method of birth control that a man or woman chooses. Although sterilization, or a tubal ligation, for women and vasectomy for men can sometimes be reversed, the surgery is much more complicated than the original procedure and may not be successful. Thus, when choosing a sterilization method, you should not have thoughts of future reversal.

Female Sterilization, Tubal Ligation

About 700,000 American women each year elect to have surgery for sterilization, referred to as tying the Fallopian tubes or tubal ligation. Some women have a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and sometimes also the ovaries) each year but usually not only for birth control.

Most US women who have undergone sterilization experience either a postpartum minilaparotomy procedure or an interval (timing of the procedure does not coincide with a recent pregnancy) procedure. A postpartum laparotomy consists of a small incision near the navel right after childbirth. An interval tubal sterilization is usually done with the use of small instruments inserted into a woman's abdomen and is called laparoscopic surgery. Interval minilaparotomy - a small abdominal incision in bikini area - is performed in surgically challenging circumstances, such as when severe pelvic adhesions are present and laparoscopy is deemed inappropriate. The majority of cases of surgical sterilization for women are performed under general anesthesia.

The Fallopian tubes (through which the egg passes from the ovaries and where the egg is fertilized by the sperm) may be blocked with Falope rings, clips, bands, segmental destruction with electrocoagulation, or suture ligation with partial salpingectomy. Female sterilization prevents fertilization by interrupting the passage through Fallopian tube.

  • How effective: Sometimes this method does not provide permanent birth control. The United States Collaborative Review of Sterilization has examined the failure rate of female sterilization. Rates vary according to the procedure performed. Overall, about 5 women out of 1,000 women who have the procedure become pregnant after one year. This is likely caused by an incomplete closure of the tubes. If pregnancy does occur after the procedure, there is an increased risk for an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Advantages: Female sterilization does not involve hormones. It is a permanent form of birth control. There are no changes in libido (sexual desire), menstrual cycle, or breastfeeding ability. The procedure is usually a same-day procedure done in a surgical outpatient clinic.
  • Disadvantages: The procedure involves general or regional anesthesia. It is permanent form of birth control, and some women may regret the decision later. The two most common factors associated with regret are young age and unpredictable life events, such as change in marital status or death of a child. Regret also has been shown to correlate with external pressure by the clinician, spouse, relatives, or others.

Regret is difficult to measure because it encompasses a complex spectrum of feelings that can change over time. This helps to explain that while some studies have shown "regret" on the part of 26% of women, fewer than 20% seek reversal and fewer than 10% actually undergo the reversal procedure.

Sterilization does not protect a person from sexually transmitted diseases. Sterilization involves all of the risks of surgery. Occasionally, sterilization cannot be done laparoscopically, and an abdominal incision may be necessary to reach the Fallopian tubes. There is some short-term discomfort.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/4/2014
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