There are several options for women who are considering permanent birth control, from advanced, minimally invasive procedures to nonsurgical techniques. These techniques are highly effective: less than 1 out of 100 women will become pregnant one year after a sterilization procedure (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists).
Our primary recommendation for permanent birth control is a laparoscopic tubal ligation. However, we believe the ideal method is a vasectomy for your partner. IUDs are another effective alternative for those who want long-term birth control without sterilization.
We’ll examine some of the most common forms of permanent birth control and provide important information to help you make a decision.
What are the best options for permanent birth control?
Tubal ligation, or “getting your tubes tied,” is one of the most familiar forms of permanent birth control. A tubal ligation is performed in a hospital under general anesthesia, and it can be done either laparoscopically or as a minilaparotomy. During a minilaparotomy, our surgeon makes a small incision in the abdomen, brings the tubes through this incision and removes all or a section of the tubes. We find this is a good approach for postpartum women.
Tubal implant /Tubal occlusion
This procedure (Essure) has undergone increased scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration and was recently removed from the market by the manufacturer. During this procedure, called hysteroscopic sterilization, thin tubes were used to carefully insert small coils to block the fallopian tubes. After a few months, scar tissue formed to completely block the tubes. While this method is no longer available, we will work with you to find other effective alternatives.
We believe the ideal method for permanent birth control is a vasectomy for our patient’s partner. It’s incredibly effective – only 2 out of 1,000 women will become pregnant in the first year after a partner’s vasectomy (American Urological Association). This common procedure is performed in a urologist’s office under local anesthesia, and your partner can go home the same day. A vasectomy does NOT increase your partner’s risk of cancer, and his sense of orgasm is NOT affected.
If your partner has a vasectomy, you should realize that men will still need an estimated 15 to 20 ejaculations to ensure any remaining sperm are cleared from their semen. This takes roughly three months (National Institutes of Health). It’s important for your partner to follow-up with his physician to ensure that his semen no longer contains sperm.
If you and your partner change your mind and decide you want to have children, most vasectomies can be reversed. However, it may take one year after the reversal for you to become pregnant.
Questions to consider before a sterilization procedure
We believe that open communication is vital when considering permanent birth control, and we welcome the opportunity to speak to you and your partner and answer any questions.
Some points to consider are:
• While you may be ready for a sterilization procedure, is your partner truly supportive of this?
• Are you considering permanent sterilization just because your partner wants it?
• Do you have any underlying medical issues we should consider?
• If you have a change in life circumstances – if you become divorced or widowed—is there a possibility that you might want to have children with another sexual partner?
• Have you discussed all the options you are considering with us?
Not sure if permanent birth control is right for you? Consider an IUD
If you’re not sure you want to undergo a procedure, and you’re not happy with your current form of birth control, you may wish to consider a long-lasting but reversible form of prevention such as an IUD. We favor this method above sterilization because it is less invasive and is an excellent form of contraception. After the first year of using the IUD, fewer than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant, and it is 20 times more effective than birth control pills, the patch or the ring (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists).
We offer compassionate care in a safe, nurturing environment where you can evaluate your options for permanent birth control.
We understand that this is a big step, and there are several choices that require careful consideration. We will work with you through every step of the process by being a partner in your care. Please contact us if you have any questions or wish to schedule an appointment to discuss your options.
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served women in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please contact us for more information.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Sterilization for Women and Men.”
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Long Acting Reversible Contraception.”
National Institutes of Health. “Vasectomy.”
Urology Care Foundation/ American Urological Association. “Vasectomy.”