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Birth Control Health Center

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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.

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