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Permanent Birth Control

When you are certain you don’t want to become pregnant in the future, you may be ready for permanent birth control. Unlike the pill, patch, diaphragm and IUD, permanent birth control doesn’t require your continued, accurate use. Also unlike those methods, permanent birth control is not reversible.

There are several advantages to permanent birth control. With an effectiveness rate of 98 percent or better, permanent birth control helps you enjoy your sex life when you want, without the need for hormones or the use of barrier methods like condoms and diaphragms. No interruptions and no need to remember to take a pill.

Women First can help you and your partner determine if permanent birth control is right for you and your health, as well as which option may be best for your needs.

What are your options?

Permanent birth control for women involves blocking, tying or cutting the fallopian tubes to prevent eggs from reaching the uterus.

Tubal ligation is often called “getting your tubes tied” for women. Tubal ligation involves cutting, burning or clamping techniques to block the fallopian tubes. This procedure can be done at the time of a C-section without additional incisions, or immediately after vaginal delivery and at any time laparoscopically through small incisions in your abdomen.

Laparoscopic Tubal Ligation

Tubal ligation is a procedure in which your fallopian tubes are cut, burned or clamped, which prevents pregnancy by blocking the egg’s path to the uterus. Laparoscopic tubal ligation allows your doctor to reach your fallopian tubes through small incisions in your abdomen. A thin, lighted scope (laparoscope) is used to burn, cut, clamp, suture or remove your tubes. The incisions are closed with a small stitch or tape.

Laparoscopic tubal ligation is an outpatient surgical procedure, which means you’ll likely go home the same day as the procedure. Most women recover within a week. Tubal ligation has the advantage of being effective in preventing pregnancy immediately, with no waiting period or using an alternate form of birth control required.

Tubal ligation is highly effective in preventing pregnancy; depending on which method is used, only 10-15 women out of 1,000 (approximately 1-1.5%) become pregnant within 10 years after the procedure.

Postpartum Tubal Ligation

Some women choose to have a tubal ligation at the time of delivery. Women who have a cesarean section can have the procedure after delivery through the same incision made for the C-section. Women who have delivered vaginally can have the procedure within hours of delivering. Often, the type of anesthesia used for delivery can be used for the ligation, and recovery time is usually no longer than the hospitalization after delivering your baby.

If you’re choosing a postpartum tubal ligation, it’s important to make that choice well in advance. Papers must be signed 24 hours in advance, so you cannot decide during delivery; however, you can cancel at any time.


Another option for permanent birth control is for your male partner to have a vasectomy. In a vasectomy, the man’s vas deferens, which is the tube that carries sperm from the testes, is tied, cut, and/or sealed, which will prevent sperm from being able to leave the testes. This is an office procedure that doesn’t even require an incision.

A vasectomy is often a more effective method of preventing pregnancy than a tubal ligation in a woman. After the vasectomy, recovery is quick. However, it’s important to use an alternative form of birth control for a few months after the vasectomy, until a test reveals that there are no sperm in your male partner’s semen.

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