WHAT IS IT?
Tubal ligation (also referred to as sterilization or ‘having your tubes tied’) provides permanent contraception for persons with uteruses. The most common techniques prevent pregnancy by blocking the fallopian tubes that would normally guide an egg to the uterus for fertilization. We do not do this procedure at HSHC, but we can provide a referral to a specialist that can.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The tubal ligation procedure is performed in a hospital using a general anesthetic usually by a gynecologist. There are three different techniques that may be used to perform the tubal ligation procedure:
- Laparoscopy, in which special instruments are inserted through two tiny incisions (less than 1 cm long) in the abdomen.
- Mini-laparotomy. This also requires a small cut in the abdomen. An incision is made just above the pubic hairline and the fallopian tubes are cut and sealed. This is a common procedure if the person has just given birth by Caesarean section, as the incision has already been made for the birth.
- Hysteroscopy, in which a thin telescope is inserted into the uterus.
Fallopian tubes are cut, clamped, cauterized, tied or blocked by a clip or ring; through an electric current (cauterization); removal of a small piece of each tube; or through the insertion of tubal plugs.
Tubal ligation prevents conception by blocking the fallopian tube and stopping transport of sperm from the cervix/uterus to an egg. Ovaries continue to release eggs, but they are interrupted in the tubes and are reabsorbed by the body.
Sterilization is the most common contraceptive method worldwide and is used by 19 percent of all people with uteruses ages 15 to 49 years who are married or in a relationship.
WHEN SHOULD I USE IT?
Tubal ligation is not reliably reversible and is therefore most suitable for people who are certain they would not like to have a pregnancy or feel their family is complete.
Reproductive technology may be used be to assist in achieving a pregnancy if tubal ligation has been performed in the past and a person wants to achieve a pregnancy, but this is not often covered by traditional health services and can carry low rates of success.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?
Tubal ligation is permanent, effective and affordable. It is approximately 99.5% effective in preventing pregnancy.
ADVANTAGES VS DISADVANTAGES OF TUBAL LIGATION:
- Immediate effectiveness
- The procedure is permanent
- No significant long term side effects
- It is very private and cost-effective. The procedure is free for people who have medical coverage in Canada.
- No interference with sex, or enjoyment of sex
- Some people experience improved sexual pleasure because they are less worried about becoming pregnant.
- No contraception routine required – nothing to remember
- After the procedure is complete, it is a private form of birth control
- Permanent, could possibly experience post-sterilization regret.
- Possible short-term surgery-related complications: abdominal discomfort; bruising, bleeding, or infection at incision site; reaction to anesthesia
- Does not protect against STIs.
- May have difficulty with access depending on age or birth status.
- Difficult to have reversed
- If pregnancy does occur, there is a higher chance that it will be an ectopic pregnancy (where the embryo attaches outside of the uterus)
Tubal ligation should be considered carefully, as it is permanent and reversal cannot be guaranteed.
The decision to have a tubal ligation can be complex. Take time to assess your situation and make a decision. Be sure to discuss your thoughts and concerns openly and honestly with your partner(s).
Remember, a tubal ligation does not protect you from STIs. You’ll still need to practice safer sex to protect yourself and your partners through the use of barrier methods.
HOW TO BOOK AND PREPARE YOURSELF FOR AN APPOINTMENT
Booking an appointment with us is easy! Give us a call at 902.455.9656 ext. 0. You will be speaking with either a volunteer or a medical administrator. We cannot book appointments by email or Facebook. You cannot book an appointment for someone else, even if they are your partner or child. We will need to speak with the person directly. To book, we will need your full name, birth date, phone number, and a very brief reason for your visit. That’s it! The person on the phone will outline anything you need to know to prepare for your appointment. For most general appointments, we run very short waitlists! While this is not a guarantee, we can often book you in within 1-2 weeks from the day you call.
Make sure you bring your valid provincial health card with you to your appointment. Clients without health cards are subject to doctors and lab fees.
Don’t have access to or lost your health card? You are entitled to your health card information! Call MSI toll-free at 1-800-563-8880 (in Nova Scotia) or at 902-496-7008 from Monday-Friday 8am-5pm. We require the number and the expiry date. Another tip: take a picture of your card! You will never lose it again!