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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 .

Often, people in a long-term, monogamous (same person) relationship who have already had several children choose to have sterilization surgery. However, some regret their decision later. The younger the man or woman, the more likely they are to regret the decision 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:

  • Whether or not you want any more children in the future
  • 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 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.

Updated: 2/26/2012

Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


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