Tubal Ligation Overview
Tubal ligation is surgery to block a
woman's Fallopian tubes. Tubal ligation is a permanent form of
birth control. After this procedure, eggs cannot move from the ovary through the tubes (a woman has two
Fallopian tubes), and eventually to the uterus. Also, sperm cannot reach the egg in the
Fallopian tube after it is released by the ovary. Thus, pregnancy is prevented.
This procedure is also called tubal ligation or
having one's "tubes tied." More formally, it is known as bilateral tubal ligation (BTL).
Currently, about 700,000 of these procedures are performed each year in the United States. Half are performed right after a woman gives birth. The rest are elective procedures performed as a one-day operation in an outpatient clinic. Eleven million US women aged 15
to 44 years rely on sterilization as a means of birth control to prevent pregnancy. More than 190 million couples worldwide use surgical sterilization as a safe and reliable method of permanent birth control.
Prior to the 1960s, female sterilization in the United States was generally performed only for medical problems or when a woman was considered "too old" to have children or at risk. The changing cultural climate in the 1960s resulted in safe, minimally invasive female sterilization procedures.
Avi J Sklar, MD, FACOG, FACS, FRCSC
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