Overview of Sterilization

When a female-bodied person chooses the birth control option of sterilization, the fallopian tubes are closed or blocked during a medical procedure by a physician to prevent an egg from being released into the uterus. For a male-bodied person, the procedure is referred to as a Vasectomy. During a Vasectomy a physician will close the two tubes that carry sperm. 

How It Works

In order for a female-bodied person to become pregnant, an egg must be released from the ovaries and enter into the fallopian tubes to be fertilized by a sperm. Sterilization blocks or closes the fallopian tubes to prevent an egg from being fertilized. There are several types of sterilization. During one method, Essure, a tiny insert is inserted through the cervix and uterus and into the fallopian tubes, which causes natural tissues to grow around the insert and block the tubes. During incision methods like laparotomies and laparoscopies, small incisions are made in the lower stomach region and a medical provider ties, clips, or uses an electrical current to block the fallopian tubes off. During a Vasectomy, on a male-bodied person, a medical provider typically makes one or two small cuts in the scrotum to access the vas deferens (tubes that allow sperm to enter into seminal fluid from testicles) and clips them, sealing the open ends with heat or stitches. 


99.9% Sterilization (Typical and Perfect)

99.9% Vasectomy (Typical and Perfect)


  • Vasectomies are quick and generally require little recovery
  • Vasectomies and Sterilization offer a high rate of efficacy


  • Sterilization for female-bodied people can sometimes require longer recovery periods
  • Sterilization and Vasectomies can be expensive procedures
  • Sometimes tubes may not be completely blocked after three months and a second procedure may be required
  • Sterilization for female-bodied people is difficult and, often impossible to reverse
  • Sterilization often requires anesthesia, either local or general
  • Both methods are riskier than other forms of birth control because they are medical procedures


Talk with your primary care physician if this is a procedure that you are considering; you can make an appointment with an SHCS provider and they will refer you to specialist for the procedure.



Related Content: 

Birth Control (Contraception)