Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size

Birth Control and Sterilization

How Is Tubal Ligation Done?

Tubal ligation is performed in a hospital or outpatient surgical clinic while you are anesthetized (put to sleep). One or two small incisions (cuts) are made in the abdomen, and a device similar to a small telescope (called a laparoscope) is inserted. Using instruments that are inserted through the laparoscope, the fallopian tubes are sealed shut. The skin incisions are then stitched closed. The patient is able to return home within a few hours after the procedure. Tubal ligation can also be performed immediately after childbirth through a small incision near the navel or during a cesarean delivery.

How Effective Is Tubal Ligation?

Tubal ligation and tubal implants are not 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. There is a slight risk of becoming pregnant after tubal ligation.

Does Tubal Ligation Protect Against STDs?

No. Sterilization does not protect against STDs, including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). Male condoms provide the best protection from most STDs.

What Is a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy, or male sterilization, is a simple, permanent sterilization procedure for men. It's generally safer and less painful than sterilization in women. The operation, usually done in a doctor's office, requires cutting and sealing or blocking the vas deferens, the tubes in the male reproductive system that carry sperm. A vasectomy prevents the transport of sperm out of the testes. This surgery does not affect the man's ability to achieve orgasm or ejaculate. There will still be a fluid ejaculate, but there will be no sperm in the fluid.

How Effective Is a Vasectomy?

Except in rare cases, this procedure is nearly 100% effective.

Does Vasectomy Protect Against STDs?

No. Vasectomy does not protect against STDs, including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). Male condoms provide the best protection from most STDs.

How Is a Vasectomy Done?

A vasectomy is usually done in the surgeon's office while the man is awake, but is relatively pain-free since local anesthesia is used. A small incision is made in the upper part of the scrotum, under the penis. The tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperm are tied off and cut apart, burned or blocked with surgical clips. The skin incision is stitched closed. The patient is able to return home immediately.

There is a non-surgical technique that some doctors use. In a "no-scalpel" vasectomy, the doctor feels for the vas deferens under the skin of the scrotum and holds it in place with a small clamp. Then a special instrument is used to make a tiny puncture in the skin and stretch the opening so the vas deferens can be cut and tied. No stitches are needed to close the punctures, which heal quickly by themselves.

Today on WebMD

Here's what to expect.
man opening condom wrapper
Do you know the right way to use them?
birth control pills
Here's what to do next.
doctor and patient
His and her options.
Concerned teenage girl
hospital gown
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
pregnancy test and calendar
contraceptive pills
Young couple looking at each other, serious
woman reading pregnancy test result