Sterilization is a procedure that closes or blocks your fallopian tubes so you can’t get pregnant. (Your tubes are where eggs and sperm meet. If they can’t meet, they can’t hook up.) Guys also have a sterilization option—a vasectomy blocks the tubes that carry a man’s sperm. It’s even safer and more effective than female sterilization. Talk to a health care provider to learn more and be sure to ask about state and federal requirements, like age restrictions and waiting periods.
Types of Sterilizations
For women, Laparoscopy, Mini-laparotomy, and Laparotomy are sterilization procedures that require an incision. Because these methods are surgical, they involve anesthesia. Recovery times vary from 1-2 days to a few weeks.
For men, an incision-based vasectomy takes about 20 minutes. It requires a shot of local anesthetic, then a doctor makes one or two incisions to the scrotum and blocks the tubes so sperm are kept out of his seminal fluid. No sperm, no pregnancy.
Essure was a procedure for women that did not involve surgery or anesthesia. The fallopian tubes were reached through the vagina, and micro-inserts were placed there. These inserts caused scar tissue to grow that blocked the tubes. Recovery for this procedure was “same-day” and wasn’t expected to impact normal activities, but it took several months for the scar tissue to form and make this method effective. Essure was no longer sold after the end of 2018.
The no-scalpel vasectomy method for men involves a tiny puncture that reaches his tubes, where they are then tied off, cauterized, or blocked. There’s no scarring, no stitches, and this procedure is known for healing quite fast without complications.
How to Use It
There are three sterilization methods available today: Laparoscopy, Mini-laparotomy, and Laparotomy. Laparotomy is the most major surgery of the three, but it’s also the least common. It requires a hospital stay for a couple of days and the recovery time can take weeks. Laparoscopy and Mini-Laparotomy are less intense, don't necessarily involve overnight hospitalization, and recovery time is faster. Sterilization is effective immediately.
There are positive and negative things to say about each and every method. And everyone's different—so what you experience may not be the same as what your friend experiences.