PERMANENT BIRTH CONTROL
What is Permanent Birth Control, or Sterilization?
Just wanted to make a quick post on this since it is the only birth control so far that is available for BOTH women and men. (There are so many options available for women, but we are still working on reversible/non-permanent birth control methods for men. Nothing has been officially released yet.)
Both procedures involve disrupting the pathway of a tube that participates in the reproduction process — the Fallopian Tube for women which eggs travel through (called a “Tubal Ligation”) and the Vas Deferens for men which sperm travel through (called a “Vasectomy”).
The BIG DIFFERENCE, however, is that men’s vasectomies do NOT require going under general anesthesia, or being put to sleep, so it is a lot SAFER!! And also faster. A 30 minute visit in the office is all that is typically needed. Don’t worry, the doctor WILL use numbing medicine/local anesthesia, so there’s no or barely any pain.
I’ve been really saddened by the many patients and people I have met who think family planning and birth control are just a woman’s problem. That’s too short-sighted. I encourage us to see family planning as everyone’s problem, since more unplanned or unwanted children stresses our entire society as a whole. It drains resources, but more importantly, the children grow up without the love and attention they deserve, which can lead to them becoming dysfunctional adults and have difficulty adjusting to or contributing back to the world.
So men, please try to make it a team effort!! If you can save your partner from going through all the risks of general anesthesia, please consider it! Or if she had just done all the work of giving birth, please take that part off her plate.
To explain a “Tubal Ligation” more in detail, the Fallopian Tubes are tied or cut so that future eggs cannot get from the ovaries to the uterus. This does NOT affect sexual function at all, such as the ability to get aroused or orgasm. This is a surgery that needs to be done under anesthesia in a hospital.
If it is done immediately after giving birth, the “Epidural” (anesthesia/numbing medicine put into the epidural space of the spine) can be used and the woman can stay awake and conscious during it. Otherwise she needs to be put to sleep with general anesthesia.
If she needed a C-section surgery for birth (the baby had to come out from a surgical cut in the belly rather than the vagina), of course the Tubal Ligation can be done at the same time.
A man can get a “Vasectomy,” meaning his Vas Deferens tubes are cut so that future sperm cannot get from the testicles to the penis. This does NOT affect his sexual function or performance, such as ability to get an erection or orgasm. This can be done under anesthesia in a hospital, OR in the office by a doctor with numbing medicine, as mentioned above.
Comparing the two, as already mentioned, Tubal Ligations are HIGHER risk since they REQUIRE a hospital and anesthesia (being put to sleep with medicines can be dangerous depending on what other health issues a person has). It is also a longer procedure, and will have more scars formed afterwards compared to a Vasectomy, since the doctor has to cut into her belly. If she needs a future surgery involving her belly organs, such as a C-section or appendix taken out, the scar tissue makes it more complicated and sometimes impossible. If you had a lot of belly surgeries in the past, it may be impossible to get a Tubal Ligation altogether. Thus, I recommend that when possible, couples choose a Vasectomy instead of a Tubal Ligation if they are on the fence between the two.
Although there are surgeries that claim to be able to reverse or undo Tubal Ligations or Vasectomies, they work less than 50% of the time and are NOT covered by insurance, thus could cost you up to $10,000!! BE SURE that you do not ever want to have a child (again) before getting permanent sterilization done.
FUN FACT: All the “LARC” (Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive) methods (IUDs and Implant/Rod) are BETTER at preventing pregnancy than Tubal Ligation permanent sterilization! when compared side by side, since Fallopian Tubes can grow back together, or the procedure might not have sealed off the entire tube. So not only are the IUD and Implant reversible (meaning you can change your mind if you decide you want a pregnancy in the future), they also have HIGHER SUCCESS RATES!!
Remember, birth control is different from preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) such as Gonorrhea or Chlamydia. Please use condoms or other barrier methods to stay safe, even if you have had a sterilization procedure done!!
If you found this helpful, please share it!! And as always, I appreciate any and all feedback or questions!!