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Sep.18.2021
 Surgery to Prevent Pregnancy

Surgery to Prevent Pregnancy

Sterilization is surgery to prevent pregnancy. Sterilization is permanent. It should only be done if you are sure that you do not want to have children.

For females, the fallopian tubes are either blocked or closed off. When the fallopian tubes are closed, the eggs that the ovaries release cannot enter the uterus, sperm cannot reach the eggs, and pregnancy is prevented.

For males, the vas deferens is cut and then tied or burned (cauterized). The vas deferens is a tube that carries sperm from the testicles. This procedure prevents pregnancy by blocking sperm from going through the vas deferens and penis during ejaculation.

Types of sterilization


For females, the surgeries include:
  • Laparoscopic tubal ligation. In this surgery, the fallopian tubes are tied off, sealed with heat, or blocked with a clip, ring, or clamp. A small portion of each fallopian tube may also be removed. This surgery is done through several small cuts (incisions) with special instruments that are inserted into the abdomen.
  • Postpartum tubal ligation. This is also called a mini-laparotomy. This surgery is done right after childbirth or 1 or 2 days after childbirth. In this surgery, the fallopian tubes are tied off, sealed with heat, or blocked with a clip, ring, or clamp. A small portion of each fallopian tube may also be removed. The surgery is done through a single incision in the abdomen.
  • Tubal ligation during a C-section. In this surgery, the fallopian tubes are tied off, sealed with heat, or blocked with a clip, ring, or clamp. A small portion of each fallopian tube may also be removed. The surgery is done at the same time as a C-section delivery.

For males, the surgeries include:
  • Incision vasectomy. In this surgery, one or two small incisions are made in the scrotum. The vas deferens will be pulled out of the scrotum and cut. The vas deferens will be tied off or sealed with heat and placed back into your scrotum. The incision will be closed with absorbable stitches (sutures).
  • No scalpel vasectomy. In this surgery, a punctured opening is made in the scrotum. The vas deferens will be pulled out of the scrotum and cut. The vas deferens will be tied off or sealed with heat and placed back into your scrotum. The opening is small and will not require sutures.

What are the benefits of sterilization?

  • It is usually effective for a lifetime.
  • The procedures are generally safe.
  • For females, sterilization does not affect the hormones, like other types of birth control. Because of this, menstrual periods will not be affected.
  • For both males and females, sexual desire and sexual performance will not be affected.

What are the disadvantages of sterilization?

Risks from the surgery

Generally, sterilization is safe. Complications are rare. However, there are some risks. They include:
  • Bleeding.
  • Infection.
  • Reaction to medicine used during the procedure.
  • Injury to surrounding organs.

Risks after sterilization

After a successful surgery, you may have other problems. Female sterilization risks may include:
  • Failure of the procedure. Sterilization is nearly 100% effective, but it can fail. In rare cases, the fallopian tubes can grow back together over time. If this happens, a female will be able to get pregnant again.
  • A higher risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that grows outside of the uterus. This kind of pregnancy can lead to serious bleeding if it is not treated.

Male sterilization risks may include:
  • Bleeding and swelling of the scrotum.
  • Failure of the procedure. There is a very small chance that the tied or cauterized ends of the vas deferens may reconnect (recanalization). If this happens, a male could still make a female pregnant.

Other risks may include:
  • A risk that you may change your mind and decide you want have children. Sterilization may be reversed, but a reversal is not always successful.
  • Lack of protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

What happens during the procedure?

The steps of the procedure depend on the type of sterilization you are having. The procedure may vary among health care providers and hospitals.

Questions to ask your health care provider

  • How effective are sterilization procedures?
  • What type of procedure is right for me?
  • Is it possible to reverse the procedure if I change my mind?
  • What can I expect after the procedure?

Where to find more information

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: www.acog.org/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: www.womenshealth.gov/

Urology Care Foundation: www.urologyhealth.org

Summary

  • Sterilization is surgery to prevent pregnancy.
  • There are different types of sterilization surgeries.
  • Sterilization may be reversed, but a reversal is not always successful.
  • Sterilization does not protect against STIs.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.

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