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Female Sterilisation - Overview

Female sterilisation, or laparoscopic sterilisation, is a procedure which permanently prevents pregnancy. It involves permanently blocking both fallopian tubes, preventing the eggs from reaching the sperm and becoming fertilised.

What are the benefits of female sterilisation?

  • Laparoscopic sterilisation is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • Sterilisation is permanent, so you will not need to worry about contraception every time you have sex. It will not interrupt your sex life.
  • It will not impact your sex drive or interfere with sexual intercourse
  • You will continue to have periods, since the operation does not affect hormone levels.

Are there any alternatives to sterilisation?

Yes. In many cases, sterilisation will not be the best option for you. It is permanent and you will no longer be able to get pregnant, even if you want to. Sterilisation cannot be easily reversed, and the NHS does not usually fund reversal procedures. The coil, hormone implants, combined or progestogen-only pill can be equally effective. Click here to find out more about contraception.

Risks of Female Sterilisation:

General complications of any procedure:

  • Pain
  • Sickness
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Blood clots

Specific complications of this operation:

  • Damage to internal organs
  • Making a hole in the womb or cervix
  • Failure - the fallopian tubes can rejoin and make you fertile again. This is rare.
  • Ectopic pregnancy - there is an increased risk if you become pregnant after the operation
Find out more about Polyp or Fibroid Removal Under Local Anaesthetic:
RisksHow is the procedure carried out?Post Operative InstructionsEndometrial Ablation Specialists
Length of procedure:
15-20 Minutes
Anaesthetic:
General Anaesthetic
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Instructions for before the operation:

Sterilisation is a serious procedure that is very difficult to reverse. Reversal is not usually available on the NHS.

Your specialist may refuse to carry out this procedure if they do not believe it is in your best interest and/or you have not fully considered the implications of such an operation.

It is recommended that you discuss this operation with your partner, but this is not a legal requirement.

You must continue using contraception until your operation and after the operation until you have your next period.

You will be given a pregnancy test prior to the procedure to ensure you are not pregnant. After the operation, the risk of ectopic pregnancy is much higher.

How is the procedure carried out?

Your gynaecologist will make several small cuts on your abdomen so they can insert surgical instruments, as well as a small telescope (laparoscope) to be able to see inside your abdomen and perform the operation.

There are multiple methods of sterilisation:

  • Blocking the fallopian tubes with plastic or titanium clips - this is the most common method of sterilisation.
  • Pulling a small loop of the fallopian tube through a silicone ring to clamp it shut.
  • Cutting, removing or tying a small piece of the fallopian tube.

Post Procedure Information:

How soon will I recover?

Female sterilisation is a relatively minor operation, and you will be able to return home the same day, after the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off, you have been to the toilet, and eaten.

You should rest for one to two days after the procedure and avoid driving if you have been under general anaesthetic.

You should also start regular exercise soon after your procedure. Your specialist will be able to advise you about this.

Female Sterilisation - Specialists

Mrs Ruchira Singh

Mrs Ruchira Singh

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Ruchira is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with her NHS practice based at Birmingham Women's Hospital in Edgbaston. She is the Clinical Director of Gynaecology at her NHS Trust.

Ruchira is a reviewer for European Journal of Obstetrics and gynaecology. She is also a Senior clinical examiner and Honorary lecturer for University of Birmingham.

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