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Sterilization surgery - making a decision

Sterilization surgery is a procedure to permanently prevent reproduction.

People who do not want to have any more children may choose to have sterilization surgery. However, some may regret the decision later. Men or women who are younger at the time they have surgery are more likely to change their minds and want children in the future. Even though either procedure can sometimes be reversed, both must be considered permanent forms of birth control.

When deciding if you want to have a sterilization procedure, it is important to consider:

  • Whether or not you want any more children in the future
  • What you might want to do if something were to happen to your spouse or any of your children

If you answered that you might want to have another child, then sterilization is not the best option for you.

There are other options for preventing pregnancy that are not permanent. Talk to your health care provider about all the options available to you before making the decision to have a sterilization procedure.

Alternative Names

Deciding to have sterilization surgery

References

Isley MM, Katz VL. Postpartum care and long-term health considerations. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 23.

Rivlin K, Westhoff C. Family planning. In:  Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 13.

Review Date 1/14/2018

Updated by: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.