Home | Reproductive Health | Sterilisation

Tubal sterilisation is a permanent form of birth control for women and should only be done if a woman is absolutely sure that she doesn’t want any more children, whatever may happen in the future.

In the procedure the fallopian tubes are blocked so that the sperm cannot travel up to meet the ovum (egg) and begin a pregnancy. The most common method is called laparoscopic sterilisation, which requires a general anaesthetic but only 6 hours in hospital. Two 1cm incisions are made in the abdomen, one at the navel and one below in the pubic hairline. A laparoscope (a type of tiny telescope) is inserted so that the doctor can see to close the tubes. The tubes are closed off by clips, rings, cautery (heat) or simply cutting and tying. There are no stitches. Some people may require a laparotomy. This involves a larger incision and therefore a longer stay in hospital.

The procedure is effective immediately, side effects are minimal and complications are rare. Afterwards the egg still comes out of the ovary but is harmlessly absorbed by the body. Only 1 to 2 procedures in 1000 fail. Periods and menopause (change of life) are not affected by the operation. It also has no direct effect on sexual intercourse or sexual feelings. Some women enjoy lovemaking more when they are not afraid of getting pregnant.

It is possible to reverse the procedure but only 50 percent of women can get pregnant if this is performed. There is also a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the fallopian tube).

This information is intended for education purposes only. We do not perform this procedure at our centres. Tubal sterilisation requires general anaesthesia and therefore needs to be performed in a hospital. Please speak with your doctor for referral.

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