Sterilisation is a permanent method of contraception that works by stopping the eggs and sperm meeting. It is suitable for both men and women who are sure they never want children or who do not want more children. For females it is called Tubal Ligation and for males it is called Vasectomy. Sometimes called the “snip”.
Key Facts about sterilisation
Sterilisation is a permanent form of contraception which involves an operation to stop the sperm and egg meeting. Tubal ligation is the permanent contraception for women and vasectomy is the permanent contraception for men. You will need to visit your doctor or a specialist to discuss sterilisation.
Tubal ligation (female sterilisation)
It involves a small operation in which a woman’s fallopian tubes are cut or blocked; this stops sperm from reaching an egg to fertilise it.
- Tubal ligation is a permanent form of contraception that should only be considered when you are sure that you do not want to have a child in the future.
- It is a very reliable and in most cases will prevent pregnancy but it is not 100% effective. About 1 in 200 women who have a tubal ligation may become pregnant.
- Tubal ligation may be performed under general anaesthetic either by a simple laproscopic procedure that takes about 30 minutes or a more complex surgical procedure that will require a stay in hospital for one or two days.
- Having a tubal ligation does not affect your sexuality or sex drive.
- Tubal ligation does not protect against STIs.
Vasectomy (male sterilisation)
It involves a small operation performed in males, in which a tube (called vas deferens) within each testicle is clamped, cut or sealed. This prevents the release of sperm during ejaculation.
- Vasectomy is a permanent form of contraception that should only be considered when you are sure that you do not want to have a child in the future.
- It is very reliable and in most cases, will prevent pregnancy, but it is not quite 100% effective. About 1 in 2,000 men who have had a vasectomy will become fertile again at some point in the future.
- Vasectomy is a simple operation which takes about 15 minutes. It can be done at a doctor’s surgery or a hospital.
- Having a vasectomy does not affect your sexuality or sex drive.
- Vasectomy does not protect against STIs.
Where to get it
You will need to visit your doctor or a specialist to find out more about the options for tubal ligation and vasectomy.
How It Works
Pros & Cons
Page last updated: 23 January 2020. Reviewed for clinical accuracy.