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Done Having Kids: His and Her Options

What to consider about tubal ligation, vasectomy, and other options.

How Stable Are We?

“I don’t think you should ever have this procedure if your relationship is unstable, you’re going through a stressful phase, or you’re thinking of splitting up,” says Eli Karam, PhD, an assistant professor in the marriage and family therapy program at the University of Louisville, Kentucky.

This is a major decision that you should make only when you have a clear view on your long-term plans.

What Hopes and Fears Do I Have?

If you’re assuming that the procedure will lead to more sex, run this past your partner, Karam says. Some people expect lots of stress-free romps once they no longer have to fear an unwanted pregnancy -- but their partners aren’t sharing this daydream.

On the other hand, some women may fear that their husbands will stray after a vasectomy since they’ll face fewer risks, he says. Discuss all your hopes and concerns before the procedure.

How Much Does It Cost?

If you’re thinking about your bank account, “In terms of cost, a vasectomy is definitely more cost-effective. In general, a tubal costs about three times as much as vasectomy,” Shih says.

If you have health insurance, check on whether it will cover the procedure and what costs may still be your responsibility. Talk with your health care provider to see what your costs are for other birth control options, since other forms of birth control may be more cost-effective.

Just Who Am I Making Happy Here?

Finally, if you’re the one having the procedure, be sure you’re doing it because you want it, not because your partner has cajoled you or bargained with you, Karam says. You’re more likely to be happy with the decision if you made it.

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Reviewed on June 13, 2014

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