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Should I Get My Tubes Tied?

By Marisa Cohen
WebMD Feature

If you know you're definitely done having babies, or you aren't interested in having any in the first place, never having to think about birth control again can give you a sense of freedom. That's why bilateral tubal ligation, also known as "getting your tubes tied," is the most popular form of birth control among married couples.

The procedure can be done any time, including in the hospital right after you have a baby. The doctor makes a small cut in your abdomen and then cuts and seals off both of your Fallopian tubes, so your partner's sperm can't meet up with your eggs.

Sounds simple, right? Before you tie the Fallopian knot, take a moment to consider if this is the best method for you.

The Pros

It lasts forever. Though there are other long-lasting forms of female birth control, such as implants (which last 3 years) and IUDs (which last 5 to 12 years), tubal sterilization is the only one that is permanent.

It works! You might forget to take a birth control pill, but once your tubes are tied, there's no chance of human error. It's one of the most effective forms of birth control available -- outside of not having sex.

Traditional "tube tying" has low rates of accidental pregnancy. Fewer than 5 women in 1,000 get pregnant the first year, and maybe 2 women in 100 will get pregnant over 10 years.

It doesn't affect your hormones. Unlike birth control methods such as the pill and the shot, tubal ligation doesn't change the levels of estrogen and progesterone flowing through your body. You'll still get your period, and it won't affect your mood or sex drive.

The Cons

It lasts forever. For the same reason so many women love tubal ligation, it's a method you should consider only if you're 100% sure you don't want to get pregnant again. This is especially true for women under 30, who have the highest rate of post-surgery regret, says Eve Espey, MD, a professor of OB/GYN at the University of New Mexico. "Things happen in life that you don't anticipate, and a 35-year-old may not be the same woman she was in her 20s."

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