What is it?

Sterilisation is a permanent method of contraception, which works either by blocking the woman’s fallopian tubes (the tubes which the egg travels from the ovary to the womb) or by blocking the vas deferens (vasectomy), (the tube that sperm travel from the testicles to the penis).

How effective is sterilisation?

  • Male sterilisation (vasectomy) – About 1 in 2,000 male sterilisations fail.
  • Female sterilisation – About 1 in 200 sterilisations fail.

There is always risk that sterilisation will fail. The tubes can rejoin after sterilisation. This can happen immediately or years after the operation has taken place. If you ever believe a pregnancy is possible, see a doctor or nurse as soon as possible.

Where can I go for information on sterilisation?

Family planning clinics, GUM clinics, your GP or practice nurse can all give you advice on sterilisation.

What are the advantages of sterilisation?

  • It does not interrupt sex.
  • After being sterilised you do have to use any contraception to prevent pregnancy. Although you may still want to use condoms to protect you from sexually transmitted infections.

What are the disadvantages of sterilisation?

  • Although uncommon tubes may rejoin and you will become fertile again.
  • Sterilisation is not easily reversed.
  • Sterilisation does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections.
  • It takes a minimum of two months for a male sterilisation to be effective.

If you have any concerns or wish more information on sterilisation speak to your GP or staff at a GUM or Family Planning Clinic. You will find more detailed information on sterilisation at the link below.

You can get more detailed information on various types of contraception from the Family Planning Website and also from your GP or local Family Planning Clinic.