Tubal ligation

A permanent contraception method for women

A surgical procedure for providing a permanent contraceptive solution

Tubal ligation is a contraceptive method suitable for women who are sure they don't want anymore children.

Tubal ligation involves a short medical procedure, usually 15-20 minutes long, and once complete offers highly effective protection against unexpected pregnancy.

It also has no effect on a woman's hormones, so have no effect on a woman and her partner's sex life.

If you're considering tubal ligation, or thinking about using a new method of contraception, it's a good idea to have a full consultation.

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What to expect at your appointment

The procedure is performed by a highly trained doctor and takes approximately 15-20 minutes.

It is carried out under local anaesthetic and sedation, using simple techniques to seal the fallopian tubes. After this procedure has been performed, an egg cannot move from the ovary through the tubes (a woman has two Fallopian tubes), and eventually to the uterus.

Tubal ligation aftercare

After recovering from the initial anaesthetic of the procedure and completing a few minor checks, you'll be allowed to go home.

Our trained staff will provide you with a detailed guide of what to expect after the surgery, and are on hand to answer any questions you may have.

It is completely normal to feel some discomfort and you should consider a few days of rest immediately after the procedure.

Some women experience vaginal bleeding or spotting. We recommend using a sanitary towel if you experience any bleeding. Discomfort, similar to period pain, is also common, and you may be prescribed painkillers for this. Contact us or your doctor for advice if you are still experiencing excessive pain after taking painkillers.

Depending if you have stitches and/or a dressing over your wound, we will advise caring for your wound following the surgery. Generally, however, you should be able to resume showering or bathing as normal once the dressing is removed.

Your sex drive should not be affected by the operation and you can begin having sex as soon as it is comfortable to do so. Long-term partners may not need to use other forms of contraception to prevent pregnancy, but remember that tubal ligation will not protect you from STIs.

Frequently asked questions about tubal ligation

How does tubal ligation work?

Tubal ligation involves closing a woman’s fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes normally carry an unfertilised egg to the womb.

Closing the fallopian tubes prevents the egg and sperm meeting, so a pregnancy cannot occur. Female sterilisation is a quick and safe surgical operation. It needs to be done by a trained health provider. 

The tubes can be closed in several ways. One method is to make one small cut in the lower stomach to see the tubes on each side of the womb, and then cut the tubes. The other method is to place a small camera and other instruments through a hole in the stomach to see the tubes, which are then clipped.

How good is tubal ligation at preventing a pregnancy?

Female sterilisation is an excellent way to prevent a pregnancy. It is a way to permanently stop you having any further pregnancies.

If 100 women had the female sterilisation operation and carried on with their normal sex life then fewer than 1 of those women would fall pregnant again.

What are the advantages of tubal ligation?

  • The operation works straight away. As soon as you have a female sterilisation it will prevent a pregnancy.
  • It is permanent, so you do not need to remember to use contraception again.
  • It does not interrupt sex or affect your sex life. After sterilisation you can still experience an orgasm.
  • Having a female sterilisation does not have any negative effects on the rest of your health.
  • You are likely to continue to have normal periods after sterilisation.
  • You can have the operation straight after an abortion.

What are the disadvantages of tubal ligation?

  • As it is permanent, you should only choose sterilisation if you do not want children or have completed your family. You cannot change your mind once the operation is done.
  • It does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections.