If you have the number of kids that you want--whether that’s one or a dozen, you may be thinking that sterilization is the best method of contraception for you. Maybe you think that you never want to be pregnant or have any more children.
Kelly Morales, MD, FACOG, and our caring team in San Antonio are here to inform you about all your options for contraception and family planning. While sterilization is one option, there are a variety of other choices available for safe and effective birth control.
Here are five things to consider before opting for sterilization as your final birth control choice.
Sterilization is a permanent method of birth control. If you’re young, with or without children, you don’t know what lies ahead in your life. Life can take sudden twists and turns that you don’t anticipate.
Will your choice not to have children or any more children remain the same 10 years from now? It may, but then again, it may not. If you change your mind at that point, you’ve foreclosed the ability to have biological children with your own eggs.
Sterilization is a serious choice that affects not only you, but also current and future partners. If your current partner wants more children in the future and you opt for sterilization now, you may have permanently changed the nature of your relationship.
There are several good long-term contraception methods available today aside from sterilization. Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) are an excellent option for long-lasting, but not permanent, birth control.
Two forms of IUDs and a contraceptive implant all provide worry-free birth control for significant periods of time. Here’s how long each LARCs device is effective for:
These long-term birth control methods are 20 times more effective than birth control pills and patches. If you decide in the future that you do want to get pregnant, Dr. Morales removes the device for you.
The surgical method of sterilization in women is tubal ligation, which means tying and cutting the fallopian tubes, sealing them with an electrical current, or closing them with clamps or clips. It’s an operation, so you’re going to be under general anesthesia in a hospital and spend time recovering. Surgery also involves certain risks.
The other surgical method blocks your fallopian tubes completely. A metal insert is placed into the vagina with a catheter. Scar tissue develops around the metal to block the tubes.
If you have a sterilization procedure and change your mind later, reversing it is expensive and difficult. It’s not an option if there isn’t enough of the fallopian tube left, and even if there is enough, the surgery often doesn’t have positive results.
Male sterilization has fewer risks than female sterilization, and it’s 100% effective. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that when a partner is involved in a discussion about sterilization, male sterilization should also be brought up. Dr. Morales can help provide more information so that you can have an informed discussion with your partner.
If you want to learn more about your options for short and long-term contraception, then call our San Antonio office today for all of your obstetric and gynecological needs.