Female Sterilisation

Sterilisation is a permanent way of obtaining contraception. This is an option that is advisable for couples that have either completed their family or do not ever want to have children in the future. Sterilisation methods aim to prevent sperm from fertilising an egg - this can either be done in the male via a vasectomy or by blocking the fallopian tubes in a female sterilisation.

How does female sterilisation work?

The fallopian tubes which carry an egg into your womb are tied, clipped or cut. You will continue to release eggs monthly, and therefore your periods will be maintained. You will usually require a general anaesthetic - the operation will either be done as open (laparotomy) or via key-hole (laparoscopy).

Your specialist will advise you how the operation will be performed as there are a variety of methods used to block the tubes.


It is a permanent method of contraception. It does not involve disrupting sex. New methods are being initiated in the UK whereby access to the tubes is gained vaginally. A micro implant is placed inside the two fallopian tubes via the vagina and therefore no incision or general anaesthetic is needed.

Disadvantages and Risks

The failure rate is 1 in every 200 females - this may be because the tubes rejoins or was not cut or clipped properly. It involves a general anaesthetic and you will need to hospitalised for at least 1 - 2 days. You may experience pain or bleeding from your vagina - this should settle within a few days but seek help from your GP if it worsens or persists.

Your periods may change and become heavier. If it does fail, you are at increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy - this is rare. It is not effective immediately and you need to continue to use another form of contraception until 4 weeks after the operation.

It is not reversed easily. It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

Further sources on information

You can find further reliable information from your GP and on the Family Planning Association website:

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