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Contraception (Sterilisation)
Health Guide
Sterilissation is basically permanent contraception. Although all forms of sterilisation do still have a small failure rate of less than 1%.

Who Should Consider It?
Only those who are sure they have finished their families should consider this permanent step. That is, those families that are no longer considering having any extra children.

Forms of Sterilisation
The two forms of sterilsation commonly carried out are vasectomy and tubal ligation.

    Vasectomy is an operation performed on the male. The tubes that carry the sperm to the penis are cut and clipped or tied. Then there is no way for new sperm to reach the penis. It does however take 3 months for the sperm that are already stored to be used up and precautions must be taken until one or two clear sperm counts are performed at three months. The operation is performed on an awake patient under local anaesthetic. There is usually mild bruising around the scrotum which usually settles down within a week.

    Tubal Ligation
    This is an operation performed on a woman. The tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the womb are clipped or tied and thus eggs can no longer travel to the womb to be fertilised and sperm cannot travel up the tubes to the eggs. There is again a small less than 1% failure rate. The operation requires an anaesthetic and thus a short hospital stay. The patient cannot drive after the procedure for 12-24 hours.

Tubal ligation vs Vasectomy
Things to consider:

  • Female vs Male - who should undergo sterilisation? Should both?
  • Hospital vs doctors surgery - convenience or cost?
  • Free vs a charge (social welfare may subsidise in many cases).

Both these operations are reversible at the patients expense and reversal is not guaranteed. Males can freeze sperm before a vasectomy and artificially inseminate at a later date. Consult with your partner, doctor and/or Family Planning nurse to choose the best option for you.

See also:


Contraception (Condoms)

Contraception (The Pill)

Contraception (IUDs)

Contraception (Diaphragms)

Contraception (Depo Provera)

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