Tubal ligation is typically a simple procedure that permanently prevents pregnancy by blocking or cutting the fallopian tubes. Though it is a very common choice for female sterilization, there are still some things to consider before determining whether tubal ligation is right for you.
- It's permanent birth control: Since tubal ligation will prevent any future pregnancies indefinitely, this removes worry about other forms of contraception.
- It's cost-effective: Even though tubal ligations can be expensive, the procedure is sometimes partially covered by insurance, and there are no further costs after the surgery is completed. This can be an advantage over other forms of birth control, such as "the pill," condoms, or spermicides, since those costs can add up over time.
- It's a low-risk procedure: A tubal ligation is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, since it is so minimally invasive. You will typically be back to your normal routine within 24 hours after surgery. Complications are a possibility, but they are rare for this sort of procedure.
- It doesn't cause menstrual changes: Tubal ligation will not affect your menstrual cycle at all, and it also will not affect your sexual desires or your mood. This can be an advantage since other birth control methods can have negative consequences in these areas.
- It doesn't protect against STIs: Even though you will not need to use other forms of birth control to prevent pregnancy after tubal ligation, you will still have to worry about protecting yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- It can cause regret: Don’t get a tubal ligation if you are not absolutely certain that you never want to have another biological child in the future. Some doctors and insurance providers require a waiting period before surgery is performed just to give you time to be certain about your decision. Some women who have the surgery end up regretting it later in life.
- It may fail: Even though this procedure is normally effective, there is still a very small chance that you could get pregnant despite a tubal ligation.
- It can lead to ectopic pregnancies: If you do happen to get pregnant after having a tubal ligation, it will likely be an ectopic pregnancy, meaning that the egg was fertilized outside of the uterus. Since these are incredibly dangerous and there is no way to correct an ectopic pregnancy, the only option is to terminate it.
- It cannot be easily reversed: If you have a tubal ligation and later decide you want to try to get pregnant again, the reversal procedure is much more invasive and expensive than the original procedure. Plus, even if the procedure is successful, only about half of the women who have reversal tubal ligation surgeries will be able to get pregnant again. Also, you will still be at risk for having an ectopic pregnancy.
- It can lead to post-tubal ligation syndrome: Rarely, women will experience symptoms of post-tubal ligation syndrome after the procedure. These symptoms will vary individually, but generally will include hot flashes, heavier periods, mood swings, depression, anxiety, insomnia, mental confusion, and fatigue. Post-tubal ligation syndrome is thought to be the result of a rapid decline in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels that is caused by the blood supply to the ovaries being damaged during surgery. Not much has been confirmed scientifically about the syndrome, but many women have come forward after their surgeries via online chat rooms and support groups.