Consultation about tubal ligation

Deciding to cut ties with your baby-bearing abilities is a tough decision to make, especially with so many options for female sterilization available. Do thorough research and ask plenty of questions before deciding to get your tubes tied.

Getting your tubes tied

Before you decide whether getting your tubes tied is the best option for you, explore the pros and cons of tubal ligation.

Getting your tubes tied

Tubal ligation — also known as getting your tubes tied and tubal sterilization — is a common option for women seeking permanent birth control. To prevent your eggs from moving to your uterus, and to block sperm from traveling to your eggs, the fallopian tubes are cut — or sometimes blocked — to prevent pregnancy. "In general, tubal ligation is an excellent method of birth control for women," says Dr. Joshua Hurwitz, board certified OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinologist with Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut. "It is considered a method of 'permanent sterility' and should not be looked upon as a reversible means of contraception." This surgical birth control procedure can be done right after childbirth, in conjunction with a cesarean procedure or any time and does not affect your menstrual cycle.

After baby: a look at birth control options >> 

Good candidates for tubal ligation

"Patients who are good candidates for a tubal ligation include any woman who is certain that she has completed her family-building and does not want any more children," assures Dr. Hurwitz. However, for those who have had previous pelvic or abdominal surgery or have a history of obesity, diabetes or pelvic inflammatory disease, you may want to explore other options of permanent birth control.

Pros and cons of tubal ligation

Like any form of birth control, tubal ligation offers both benefits and disadvantages when ruling out pregnancy for good. Before you decide, here are a few pros and cons of tubal ligation.

There are many benefits of getting your tubes tied, as many women are good candidates for this permanent birth control option. "Tubal ligation in its many forms is a very safe and well-tolerated procedure," assures Dr. Hurwitz. Plus, breaking free from daily and on-the-spot birth control alternatives is enough to make you want to do the happy dance — especially when you haven't fared well with other options, like Jenifer Arent of California. "I had my tubes tied 11 years ago within hours of my second son's birth. I was thinking about a third child but got so sick the first trimester with my second — I could not keep water down — so I knew I was done after two kids. It was the best decision for me as I did not do well with the pill or the shot."

Although tubal ligation is a popular choice for permanent birth control, Dr. Hurwitz reports that, "Possible risks or side effects... are very rare and are related to the act of surgery itself such as anesthesia and theoretical damage to internal organs." And, for a limited few, "Another risk of tubal ligation is that it can have failure rate of up to approximately 0.25 to 0.5 percent depending on the way it was performed and the age of the patient." And the failure could result in a tubal pregnancy. "I had my tubes tied and 12 years later I had tubal pregnancy," warns Nazira Rahhal, of California. "It was terrible."

However, the biggest disadvantage of getting your tubes tied is that, "there can be a high rate of regret and no longer desiring permanent sterility," warns Dr. Hurwitz. "This may include patients who were very young at the time, or those who are now in new relationships and want to build a family together." It's important to note that tubal ligation also will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.

Explore the history of women's contraceptives >> 

Regardless of your age, preferences and size of your brood, weighing the pros and cons of tubal ligation is key before deciding if getting your tubes tied is right for you. Be sure to discuss your individual situation with your doctor so you know you're 100 percent sure you're ready for this permanent form of birth control.

More about birth control

Hidden health benefits of birth control
Pregnant while on birth control: Risks to pregnancy and odds of conceiving
Birth control: Hormone-based contraception

Tags: contraception

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