Share this site on social media: Facebook Twitter

Sterilisation

Male Sterilisation (vasectomy)

What is it?

Sterilisation is a permanent method of contraception suitable for people who do not wish to have children.

This method does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use a condom as well to help protect you against most STIs.

How does it work?

In male sterilisation (vasectomy), the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis is cut and sealed or tied, thereby stopping the egg and the sperm meeting. The operation takes about 10–15 minutes.

How effective is it?

About one in 2,000 male sterilisations fail. The tubes that carry the sperm in men can rejoin after sterilisation. This can happen immediately or some years after the operation has been carried out.

What are the benefits?

  • After sterilisation has worked you do not have to use contraception ever again
  • Failure rate is only one in 2,000 (out of 2,000 men who have a vasectomy, only one will get a woman pregnant in the rest of his lifetime)
  • Long-term effects on health are rare
  • It will not affect the spontaneity of sex or interfere with sex

Who may not be able to / may not want to use it?

Men who:

  • Are not completely sure or if you are under any stress or family or relationship crisis
  • Are under 30, have no children or are not in a relationship

Possible side-effects/Risks

  • No known serious long-term health risks
  • Occasionally, some men have bleeding, a large swelling or an infection
  • Sometimes sperm may leak out of the tube and collect in the surrounding tissue, causing inflammation and pain immediately, or a few weeks or months later
  • A small number of men experience ongoing pain in the testicles
  • Uncommonly, the tubes may rejoin and you will be fertile again
  • Cannot be easily reversed
  • Takes between four weeks to three months to be effective

What if......?

I want to become pregnant?

Sterilisation is meant to be permanent. There are reversal operations but they are not always successful. The success will depend upon how and when you were sterilised. Reversal is rarely available on the NHS and can be difficult and expensive to obtain privately.

Does sterilisation affect my sex drive?

Sterilisation does not affect your hormones. Therefore, your sex drive and enjoyment of sex should not be affected. For many men and women it is improved as they no longer fear an unplanned pregnancy.

 

Female Sterilisation (tubal occlusion)

What is it?

Sterilisation is a permanent method of contraception suitable for people who do not wish to have children.

This method does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use a condom as well to help protect you against most STIs.

How does it work?

In female sterilisation (tubal occlusion), the fallopian tubes which carry an egg from the ovary to the uterus are blocked, sealed or cut, thereby stopping the egg and the sperm meeting.

A doctor will make two tiny cuts, one just below your navel and the other just above the bikini line. The doctor will seal or block your fallopian tubes, usually with clips or occasionally with rings. There is also a method of sterilisation which doesn’t involve any cuts and is known as hysteroscopic sterilisation. A tiny metal coil is inserted into the fallopian tubes through the vagina and cervix. Body tissue grows around the coil and blocks the fallopian tube. This can be done under local anaesthetic and takes about 10 minutes.

How effective is it?

The overall failure rate is about one in 200.

What are the benefits?

  • After sterilisation has worked you do not have to use contraception ever again
  • Long-term effects on your sexual health are rare
  • Will not affect your sex drive
  • Will not affect the spontaneity of sexual intercourse or interfere with sex
  • Will not affect hormone levels

Who may not be able to / may not want to use it?

Women who:

  • Are not completely sure or if you are under any stress, for example after a birth, miscarriage, abortion or family or relationship crisis.
  • Are under 30, have no children or are not in a relationship

Possible side-effects?

  • It is very difficult to reverse a tubal occlusion – this involves removing the blocked part of the fallopian tube and rejoining the ends, and reversal operations are rarely funded by the NHS
  • There is a very small risk of complications, including internal bleeding and infection or damage to other organs
  • 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
  • The fallopian tubes can rejoin and make you fertile again, although this is rare (about 1 in 200 women become pregnant in their lifetime after being sterilised)
  • If female sterilisation fails, and you do become pregnant, there is a small increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilised egg grows outside the womb, usually in the fallopian tubes)

What if......?

I want to become pregnant?

Sterilisation is meant to be permanent. There are reversal operations but they are not always successful. The success will depend upon how and when you were sterilised. Reversal is rarely available on the NHS and can be difficult and expensive to obtain privately.

Does sterilisation affect my sex drive?

Sterilisation does not affect your hormones. Therefore, your sex drive and enjoyment of sex should not be affected. For many men and women it is improved as they no longer fear an unplanned pregnancy.

Remember: Contact your doctor or nurse if you have any concerns or are worried / unsure about anything to do with your contraception.

Have you decided which might be the right contraception for you? If not check out the other choices, if you have, jump to Step3: How do I change?

© 2015 Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd. All rights reserved.

Job code: WOMN-1160817-0000

Date of preparation: September 2015

Help us to improve this site!

We're always trying to improve the content of this site, please take our quick survey to see how well we’ve answered your needs.

Help us to improve this site!

We're always trying to improve the content of this site, please take our quick survey to see how well we’ve answered your needs.