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Sterilization surgery - making a decision

Alternative Names

Deciding to have sterilization surgery

Information

Sterilization surgery in women is called tubal ligation.

In men, it is called a vasectomy.

Many people in a long-term, monogamous relationship who have already had several children choose to have such procedures. However, some regret their decision later. The younger the man or woman, the more likely that this happens at some point in the future. Even though either procedure can occasionally be reversed, both must be considered permanent forms of birth control.

When deciding if you want to have a sterilization procedure, consider two things: 1) Whether or not you want any more children in the future, and 2) What you might want to do if something were to happen to your spouse or any of your children. If you answered that you might want to have another child, then sterilization is probably not the best option for you.

There are other effective and long-term birth control options that are not permanent. Before making the decision to have a sterilization procedure, be sure to discuss all other options with your health care provider.


Review Date: 3/31/2010
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine.
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