B I R T H   C O N T R O L:
Permanent Methods


HOW does sterilization work? Both women and men can have an operation that will prevent them from ever becoming natural parents. For women, the surgery is called a tubal ligation and may require a one day hospital stay. During this procedure, the Fallopian tubes (between the ovaries and the uterus) are blocked so that an egg never gets to the place where it can meet a sperm and be fertilized. That means no possibility of a pregnancy. The woman still has sexual feelings, ovulates, gets her period and everything. The only difference is that, each month, the ripened egg stops part way down the tube, disintegrates and is absorbed by the body.

In the case of the man, the operation is called a vasectomy and is done in a doctor's office. The doctor snips off part of the man's vas deferens, the end section of the long tube (epididymus) that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis, and ties off what's left. The penis itself is not altered in any way! The man still has sexual feelings, gets an erection, ejaculates ("comes"), and produces seminal fluid. The only difference is that there is no sperm in the fluid, so no eggs can be fertilized. That means no possibility of a pregnancy.

HOW is sterilization USED? An operation by a doctor is needed.

Benefits to becoming sterilized: This is a permanent form of birth control. Once someone is sterilized, he/she never has to worry about birth control again. Because it is a permanent method, it doesn't interrupt sex. The procedure may be covered by health insurance.

Concerns connected to sterilization: Sterilization should be considered a permanent procedure. For a small percentage of sterilized people, they later regret their decision because once someone has become sterilized, the chances of reversing the operation (so the person becomes fertile again) are not very good. Besides being a delicate procedure requiring microsurgery, it is very expensive and not covered by insurance. The chances for a successful reversal decrease with time from the sterilization procedure, ranging from about 30% down to 0%. That means the sterilized person will most likely never be able to be the natural mother or father of a child.

There is some pain experienced shortly after the sterilization procedure. As with any operation, there is a slight chance of minor infection afterwards.

Sterilization offers zero protection against STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases).

Effectiveness. Sterilization is 99.6% effective in preventing pregnancy. The slight failure rate comes from the small percentage of operations that are poorly executed.


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