Diagram of the female reproductive system.

Female Sterilization

Tubal Ligation

A permanent option that surgically disconnects the fallopian tubes, so that the egg never meets the sperm.

Benefits

  • 99.5% effective with perfect use*
  • 99.5% effective with typical use*
  • The World Health Organization cites a failure rate after tubal ligation of 0.5%
  • For women seeking permanent contraception

RISKS

  • Short term complications after surgery may include abdominal and shoulder tip pain and bruising, anesthesia-related risks, bleeding, and infection, or damage to bowel, bladder, and blood vessels
  • In a study, the 10-year cumulative probability of ectopic pregnancy was less than 1%

Tubal Occlusion

Also known as transcervical sterilization, this permanent method of sterilization involving placement of a device by a physician that blocks the fallopian tubes and prevents sperm from reaching the egg.

Benefits

  • Over 99% effective
  • Low complication rate (when the device is properly placed)
  • No incision is required
  • Performed in an office setting
  • Rapid recovery

RISKS

  • Risk of infection, pelvic pain, perforation of the uterus or fallopian tubes and tubal blockage occurring on only one side
  • Risk of pregnancy in the first 3 months if no other method of birth control is used
  • Overall risk of ectopic pregnancy is lower than that of the general population
Diagram of the male reproductive system.

Vasectomy

A permanent option for men that surgically blocks the sperm duct and prevents sperm from entering the ejaculate.

Benefits

  • 99.9% effective with perfect use*
  • 99.9% effective with typical use*
  • For men seeking permanent contraception

RISKS

  • Side effects include local pain and scrotal bruising and swelling

*The relative effectiveness of a birth control method is defined in two ways: actual effectiveness and theoretical effectiveness. Actual effectiveness refers to the "typical use" of a method, meaning how effective the method is during actual use (including inconsistent and incorrect use). Theoretical effectiveness refers to the "perfect use" of a method, which is defined by when the method is used correctly and consistently as directed.