Choosing the right birth control can seem like a daunting task, especially with dozens of types to choose from. Finding the method of birth control that is right for you can be influenced by a number of different factors including the effectiveness of the method, any related costs, how invasive it is, the complexity of the method, and your religious or philosophical beliefs. Here is a brief guide to one type of birth control known as Sterilization Methods.
Sterilization Methods are surgical procedures meant to permanently prevent pregnancy and childbirth. Sterilization methods include tubal sterilization implant and tubal ligation in women and vasectomy in men. Sterilization surgery should only be considered as a birth control option if you never want to have children again. Reversal of a sterilization surgery is rare and it is not covered by most health insurance plans meaning instead of paying just a surgical co-pay, you would be paying for the entire cost of the surgical procedure out of pocket. Despite the permanence of these procedures, they are no more effective than an IUD with male sterilization being about as effective as the Mirena IUD and female sterilization being equally as effective as the Paragard IUD.
- Transcervical Tubal Sterilization Implant- This is a female sterilization technique where a small metal coil containing nickel is implanted into the fallopian tubes. This is inserted through the vagina using a special catheter and a camera so no surgical incision is required for this type of sterilization but it may require anesthesia. This type of sterilization works by causing scar tissue to form around the metal coil which blocks the fallopian tube which prevents pregnancy. It takes 3 months for this type of sterilization procedure to take effect so other forms of birth control will be needed for the first 3 months after the procedure. At three months a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is performed. An HSG is an imaging procedure that uses dye to determine if the fallopian tubes are completely blocked and the procedure was a success.
- Tubal ligation- This type of female sterilization requires a laparoscopic incision to be made in the abdominal area to surgically block the fallopian tubes by tying, cutting or using clamps. This type of sterilization procedure is effective immediately. This is an invasive surgical procedure and carries with it the typical risks and complications associated with any surgical procedure and anesthesia.
- Vasectomy- Vasectomy is the only male sterilization technique. It is typically performed by making a small incision in the scrotal sack and severing the vas deferens which are the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles into the seminal fluid. Vasectomy prevents pregnancy by causing ejaculate that contains no sperm and therefore prevents the possibility of conception. Other forms of contraception will be required for three months after a vasectomy before it becomes effective. Because residual sperm can still exist in the vas deferens beyond the point of occlusion, men who have this surgery are also required to have at least 20 ejaculations in the three months following surgery to ensure their semen no longer contains any sperm. This is an invasive surgical procedure and carries with it the typical risks and complications associated with any surgical procedure and anesthesia.