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Female sterilisation is an operation to cut, tie or block the fallopian tubes (the tubes between the ovary and the uterus) with rings or clips. It is a permanent method of contraception which means you will not be able to have any more children.
Another permanent method of contraception is vasectomy (male sterilisation). Vasectomy is associated with fewer risks and a lower failure rate (ie pregnancy) than female sterilisation. See the treatment summary sheet, Vasectomy.
Although there is an operation to reverse female sterilisation it is not always successful. So you need to be absolutely sure that you do not want any more children before deciding to have sterilisation surgery.
The operation is usually performed under general anaesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the procedure and feel no pain. It is routinely performed as a day case, without an overnight stay in hospital.
Your surgeon will explain the benefits of having female sterilisation surgery, and discuss the associated risks and alternatives to the procedure.
About the operation
Female sterilisation is often performed through keyhole surgery, using a narrow, tube-like telescope called a laparoscope. Your surgeon will make a small cut in your abdomen which the laparoscope is passed through to view the uterus and the fallopian tubes. Instruments are passed through further small cuts to cut, tie or block the tubes. The operation usually takes about 30 minutes.
Sometimes a larger cut is required to perform female sterilisation, particularly if you have had previous surgery.
Afterwards, you must continue using contraception until your next period following the operation.
Female sterilisation is a commonly performed and generally safe procedure. For many women, the benefits in terms of permanent birth control are greater than any disadvantages. However, all surgery carries an element of risk.
The main possible complications of any surgery include excessive bleeding during or soon after the operation, infection, or an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic.
Although female sterilisation is generally effective it is still possible that you may become pregnant for up to several years following the procedure. About one in 200 women become pregnant after female sterilisation.
The chance of complications depends on the exact type of operation that you are having and other factors such as your general health. Ask your surgeon to explain how any risks apply to you.
Is female sterilisation available on the NHS?
Female sterilisation is currently being restricted by the NHS in some areas of the UK and waiting lists are becoming significantly longer. For these reasons many people opt for private treatment.
Why should I consider having a female sterilisation operation at a Spire hospital?
Whether you have medical insurance or are paying for your treatment yourself, with Spire Healthcare you will be seen quickly by the consultant-grade doctor of your choice at a time that suits you. You will be treated in a premium private hospital with some of the UK's highest standards of cleanliness and infection control.
To find out more about having female sterilisation privately or to get a guide price, simply