Birth Control: Surgical Methods

If you’ve come to a point in your life where you know you don’t have want to have children in the future, but want to stay sexually active, you may want a permanent form of contraception.  Both men and women can undergo surgery to permanently prevent the possibility of pregnancy.  Some surgeries, however, are reversible with a second procedure.

Men undergo a surgery called a vasectomy.  A surgeon ties off or blocks the vas deferens in the scrotum to prevent sperm from being ejaculated during sex.  It takes several months for the vasectomy to have its full effect, but is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy once completed.  Reversing a vasectomy is possible with a second surgery.

For women, there are two methods that are more than 99% effective.  Tubal ligation, or “getting your tubes tied”, is where a surgeon seals the fallopian tubes with a plastic clip or ring.  This prevents an egg from making its way from the ovary to the uterus, and stops sperm from entering the fallopian tubes to reach an egg.  Reversing tubal ligation is an option, however you would likely need to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) if you wished to become pregnant.  The other option is the insertion of metal coils into the fallopian tubes.  These coils cause scar tissue to develop in the tubes, and block the passage of eggs and sperm.  This procedure is not reversible.  

These surgical methods are not always reversible and should be considered carefully with the help of your doctor and partner.

Dr. Isabel Blumberg

This video features Dr. Isabel Blumberg. Dr. Isabel Blumberg is a Clinical Instructor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science

Duration: 02:39.
Reviewed by: Dr. Preeti Parikh, Dr. Suzanne Friedman . Review date: July 06, 2014
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