pixel pixel

Female Sterilization FAQ


FHI 360 degrees blog

Read this page in:
Español  | Français

Bookmark and Share

What is female sterilization?
Female sterilization is a surgical procedure where the fallopian tubes, which carry the egg from the ovary to the uterus, are blocked (tied and cut, cauterized, or interrupted by ring or clip.) Sterilization ends fertility permanently (only 2% failure at 10 years).
How does sterilization work? (mechanism of action)
Blocking the fallopian tubes prevents sperm from uniting with an egg, thereby preventing fertilization.
Who can use sterilization?
  • Any women (couples) who are certain they do not want or must not have more children and desire permanent protection from pregnancy.
  • There is no reason to deny sterilization to any woman. Women with certain conditions should have the sterilization procedure delayed until the condition is resolved.
(For more information, see WHO eligibility criteria.)
  • Highly and immediately effective
  • Permanent
  • Has no systemic side effects
  • Does not interfere with intercourse
  • Easy to use
  • Has beneficial non-contraceptive effects (partial protection from ovarian cancer and PID)
  • Chance of regret
  • Surgical procedure (associated discomfort)
  • No protection from STIs/HIV
  • In rare case where the operation fails and the woman becomes pregnant, there is a high chance that it will be ectopic
Possible side effects:
  • Some pain and discomfort during and right after the procedure
  • Complications associated with anesthesia or the procedure itself are rare
  • Observation two to six hours after the procedure
  • One week after the procedure to check the surgical site
  • Any time soon after the procedure if signs of infection are present
Given the permanent nature of this procedure, thorough counseling is very important. Clients most likely to regret sterilization can be identified through counseling.
Client characteristics associated with regret:
  • Under age 30
  • Single or recently married
  • No male children
  • Client pressured into decision
  • Partner opposed to decision
  • Procedure performed immediately postpartum
  • Limited access to other methods