Sterilization as permanent birth control. Part 1

Posted On: Monday, October 29th, 2012 at 1:20 pm

If you have completed your family — or if you’ve chosen not to have children — you and your partner may have concluded that surgical sterilization is your best option for permanent birth control. It can be difficult, however, for a couple to decide who should have the procedure. Vasectomy is the only surgical method of permanent sterilization for men, while tubal ligation is by far the most common method of female sterilization. Most medical experts agree that vasectomy is generally the safer and easier procedure, but you should discuss your situation with your doctor or a counselor before making a decision.

Here are some of the relative advantages and disadvantages of vasectomy and tubal ligation.
What’s involved?

Vasectomy — The doctor injects a local anesthetic into the scrotum, then makes two small incisions. The tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperm to the penis are severed and sealed, either with sutures or surgical clips on each end of the severed tubes.

Tubal ligation — Tubal ligation prevents contraception by closing off and sealing the fallopian tubes so that egg and sperm cannot meet. The procedure may be done either laparoscopically (in which viewing and operating instruments are inserted into the abdomen), or by minilaparotomy (where the doctor uses a small incision to open the abdomen and seal the tubes). The tubes are sealed by cauterizing with electric current (electrocoagulation), by using specially designed clips, or by cutting out a portion of the tubes.
Where will the procedure be done?

Vasectomy — Usually done on an outpatient basis, in a room designed for minor surgical procedures at a clinic or doctor’s office.

Tubal ligation — Performed in a hospital or clinic surgical unit, usually as day surgery.
What kind of anesthetic is used?

Vasectomy — Requires only a local anesthetic. You are awake during the procedure.

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