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Sterilization surgery - making a decision

Alternative Names

Deciding to have sterilization surgery

Information

Sterilization surgery is a procedure to permanently prevent reproduction.

People who do not want to have any more children may choose to have sterilization surgery. However, some may regret the decision later. Men or women who are younger at the time they have surgery are more likely to change their minds and want children in the future. Even though either procedure can sometimes be reversed, both must be considered permanent forms of birth control.

When deciding if you want to have a sterilization procedure, it is important to consider:

  • 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 not the best option for you.

There are other options for preventing pregnancy that are not permanent. Talk to your health care provider about all the options available to you before making the decision to have a sterilization procedure.

References

Jensen JT, Mishell DR. Family planning: contraception, sterilization, and pregnancy termination. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 13.

Newkirk GR. Permanent female sterilization (tubal ligation). In: Pfenninger JL, Fowler GC, eds. Pfenninger and Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2011:chap 152.

Wilson CL. Vasectomy. In: Pfenninger JL, Fowler GC, eds. Pfenninger and Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2011:chap 126.

Review Date:4/5/2016
Reviewed By:Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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