female sterilisation

Female sterilisation is an effective form of contraception with a very small failure rate. Sterilisation is only for people who have decided they do not want any children, or further children in the future. It is considered a permanent method of contraception. Reversal is a complicated operation which is not always successful.

How is female sterilisation done?

The Female sterilisation is done by blocking the tubes(Fallopian tubes) present between ovaries and the womb. The tubes can be blocked with rings or clips. This stops the eggs, which are released by the ovary from reaching the sperm.

The procedure is usually done under general anaesthetic using a special telescope called a laparoscope. The laparoscope is inserted through a very small cut in theabdomen, which allows the surgeon to see what they are doing. Another small cut is then made to insert an instrument to apply clips or rings to your tubes. A larger cut may have to be made if the female is overweight or have had previous operations.

A newer procedure is available which can be done under local anesthetic called as hysteroscopic sterilisation. The doctor places a scope in the vagina and cervix. And places a very small implant (called a micro-insert) into each Fallopian tube. The presence of the micro-inserts causes scar tissue to form in the Fallopian tubes. This eventually blocks them.

How effective is female sterilisation?

It is more than 99% effective. Less than 1 woman out of 200 will become pregnant after sterilisation. The main reason of getting pregnant is because the tubes can, sometime, come back together again after being cut. If they were blocked, the clips can work their way off - even when they have been put on correctly.

What are the advantages of female sterilisation?

It is permanent and you (and your partner) don't have to think about contraception again.

What are the disadvantages of female sterilisation?

As it is permanent, some people may regret having the operation in future years, particularly if their circumstances change.

Laparoscopic sterilisation is also not as easy to do, or as effective, as male sterilisation (vasectomy). There is a risk from the insertion of the laparoscope, which is done 'blind' as the surgeon cannot see exactly where they are putting the instrument and it may damage things inside the abdomen.

As with any operation there is a risk of a wound infection and the slight risk from a general anaesthetic.

In hysteroscopic sterilisation there is no cut. The surgeon can also see what they are doing more easily. There may not be surgeons available yet at your local hospital who are trained to do this procedure.

How soon is it effective?

Ideally the procedure should be done whilst you have your period. This means you will not have produced an egg yet. In this case the procedure is effective immediately.

Hysteroscopic sterilisation is also effective immediately. However, you should use additional contraception until you know that the microstents are in the correct place.

Does it reduce sex drive?

No. Sex may seem more enjoyable, as the worry of pregnancy and contraception is removed.

Some points to consider

Don't consider having the operation unless you and your partner are sure you do not want children, or further children. It is wise not to make the decision at times of crisis or change - for example, after a new baby or termination of pregnancy. Don't make the decision if there are any major problems in your relationship with your partner. It will not solve any sexual problems.

Doctors normally like to be sure that both partners are happy with the decision before doing this permanent procedure. However, it is not a legal requirement to get your partner's permission. If you have any doubts and questions, make sure you discuss these with your doctor or practice nurse.

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