Tubal occlusion, also know as female sterilisation, is a permanent way of preventing pregnancy. It involves having an operation. This procedure is not undertaken in IFPA clinics. You will need to be referred to hospital.
Anyone having a sterilisation must see it as a permanent step. Reversal operations are difficult to do and there is no guarantee of success. In other words, do not have the operation if you think you may come to regret it.
How does it work?
Tubal occlusion is an operation that blocks, seals or cuts the Fallopian tubes; this means that your eggs can no longer be fertilised by your partner’s sperm through sexual intercourse.
How effective is it?
There is a slight risk that the operation will not work. Although it is rare for fertility to return, the tubes do sometimes rejoin. You can get pregnant immediately or at any time (even several years) after a failed operation.
The risk of failure is about three in 1,000 procedures carried out, depending on the procedure used.
What are the advantages?
- It does not interrupt sex.
- After sterilisation has worked you don’t have to do anything about contraception ever again.
What are the disadvantages?
- The tubes may rejoin and you will be fertile again. This is not common.
- Sterilisation cannot be easily reversed.
- Sterilisation does not protect you against Sexually Transmitted Infections.
Who is it suitable for?
Sterilisation is for people who have completed their families or who are sure that they never want to have children.
If you are in a long-term relationship you need to consider both methods and decide which one is best for you as a couple.
It should not be undertaken at a time of stress or crisis.
You should consider if there may be a preferable long term method of contraception
When can you have intercourse without fear of pregnancy?
You will need to use contraception until your operation and for four weeks afterwards or wait until your next period after the procedure. You can have sex as soon as it is comfortable.
Can it be reversed?
All sterilisation operations are meant to be permanent. The chances of an operation to reverse it being successful vary a great deal. There is no guarantee of success.
Are there any risks?
All operations carry some risk, but the risk of serious complications is low.
It is very unlikely that you will become pregnant after a tubal occlusion. If a pregnancy occurs there is a chance that the pregnancy will develop in the fallopian tube rather than in the womb. This is called an ectopic pregnancy.
Will sterilisation affect my sex life?
There is no evidence that sterilisation will affect your sex life. On the contrary, by removing the fear of pregnancy it often makes for a happier sex life. In the case of female sterilisation the ovaries continue to produce female hormones which enter the bloodstream as before. Periods may become heavier. Orgasm and sexual enjoyment are not affected.
Will sterilisation affect my periods?
If you were on the contraceptive pill before your tubal occlusion your periods may become heavier again, compared to the withdrawal bleed you had while taking the pill. This is quite normal. The same applies to women who were using the injectable contraceptive, implant or Mirena IUS device.