Sterilisation involves blocking or sealing the fallopian tubes, which link the ovaries to the womb (uterus). Sterilisation is meant to be permanent – though there are reversal operations, they are not always successful. In recent years, many more couples in their 30s and 40s are opting for efficient and long-lasting contraceptives, instead of sterilisation, as more couples are choosing to have families later in life.
- You don’t have to think about contraception again
- Does not affect hormones within your body
- Usually, a minor operation where women can return home the same day
- No effect on sex drive or ability to enjoy sex.
- You need to use contraception right up to and for 1- 3 months after the operation, depending on what procedure you have
- Feeling unwell and uncomfortable for a few days after general anaesthetic (if required) is common. You will need some time off work
- As with any surgery, there's a small risk of complications. These include internal bleeding, infection or damage to other organs.
- You can usually resume sex within about a month of the operation, but it can be a little uncomfortable, so take it gently.
- Your periods will continue to be as regular as they were before sterilisation. Occasionally, some women find that their periods become heavier. This is usually because they have stopped using hormonal contraception, which may have lightened their periods previously.
- Sterilisation does not protect against STIs, so you may need to use condoms if you think you are at risk of infection.
- Once you are sterilised it is very difficult to reverse the process, so it's important to consider the other options available before making your decision. Sterilisation reversal is not usually available on the NHS.
- It is possible, though rare, for sterilisation to fail, resulting in pregnancy. If this happens, there is a small increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.
How effective is it?
Female sterilisation is over 99% effective, and only one woman in 200 will become pregnant in her lifetime after having it done.
For more information visit the FPA website.