Tubal sterilization is a surgical means to prevent conception. Both men and women undergo such sterilization, but the procedure varies due to differences in their bodies. Female tubal sterilization is more common, but its popularity has declined in some western countries due to the wide availability of other contraceptive methods. This form of surgery raises a great many ethical and legal questions, and mental health professionals have some serious concerns. The use of enforced sterilization on mentally ill people in Nazi Germany is one of the historical episodes that make this into a very controversial medical subject.

Think very carefully before undertaking this surgery

Since tubal sterilization is irreversible, nobody should go ahead with the operation if they have any doubts. Medical surveys reveal that those under 30 are most likely to regret their tubal sterilization. One of the most common scenarios that trigger regrets occurs when a stable relationship breaks down. The sterilized partner believed their relationship was secure. Now they are unexpectedly on their own and hope to find a new relationship. The fact that they went a tubal sterilization means that nobody who desires to have children will consider them as a partner.



What is hysteroscopic tubal occlusion?

In this type of tubal sterilization surgery, the surgeon inserts implants into the Fallopian tubes. To do this, he or she needs to put a hysteroscope instrument through the patient's vagina and cervix. With the aid of this device, they insert an implant into each tube. The implant causes scarring, and this blocks the tubes and in this way prevents conception. It takes about three months for a full blockage to occur. This surgery has a high safety record and successfully blocks conception in almost every case.



What is laparoscopic tubal occlusion?

In this kind of surgery, the surgeon needs to insert a needle into the patient's stomach to insufflate. After this procedure, they insert the laparoscope to clip the Fallopian tubes together. This operation is only permissible if the woman has previously used a dependable contraceptive. Therefore, she needs a pregnancy test before proceeding with the surgery. The patient also needs to continue using the contraceptive for a week after the operation. For obese women, laparoscope carries higher risk, but researchers estimate that the general failure rate is well under one percent.



What risks do people undergoing sterilization face?

Even though the vast majority of tubal sterilizations succeed, there are always risks of damage to health. As with all other kinds of surgery, sometimes harm to the patient comes about through human error. For example, laparoscopic tubal occlusion occasionally damages the bowels and blood vessels. Another point to take into account is that even though this surgery has extremely high success rates, there remain a small percentage of failures. If the surgery does not work, this is no proof that the surgeon was incompetent since many other factors might be involved. Also, keep in mind that statistics show that this sterilization increases the rate of hysterectomy.



Alternatives to tubal sterilization

Anyone who wants to avoid becoming pregnant has other options. Many doctors recommend having a vasectomy instead. It has the advantage of fewer health risks, and it has an even higher success rate. The use of long-acting contraceptives is another alternative to tubal sterilization that has become much more popular recently. In addition to the plus of avoiding surgery, it leaves open the option of getting pregnant at a later date if personal circumstances and wishes change.



Does tubal sterilization protect against sexually transmitted diseases?

Unfortunately, some people may be under the false impression that tubal sterilization can protect them against AIDS and other kinds of sexually transmitted diseases (STD). They need to know that it provides no additional safeguard from any STD. All this procedure can do is to prevent conception occurring. There is no way it can stop or even reduce the chance of infection from a physical relationship with an STD carrier. Therefore, a wish not to have any children is the only reason why anyone should want to undergo such sterilization.



Risk of pregnancy immediately after tubal sterilization

It probably comes as a surprise to find out that occasionally a woman discovers she has become pregnant even though she just had a tubal sterilization. The first impulse is often to blame the surgeon, but the patient is just or even more likely to be the one responsible. It is possible that she became pregnant in the menstrual cycle immediately before she underwent this procedure. She needs to avoid sleeping with her partner until the next menstrual period following the sterilization.



Possibilities of reversing tubal sterilization

Sometimes it happens that changes in circumstances and outlook bring people to regret having a tubal sterilization. They come to a surgeon and request that he or she reverse the procedure. To all intents and purposes, consider tubal sterilization virtually irreversible. In a tiny number of cases, microsurgery makes it possible for this woman to have a successful pregnancy but the chances of this happening are remote. In addition to the extremely low success rate, reversal surgery happens to be extremely expensive.



Dangers of reversing tubal sterilization

In addition to the low success rate of pregnancy after a tubal sterilization reversal, the potential patient must be aware that reversal poses its own serious health risks. For example, sometimes it further damages the Fallopian tubes, and it could harm the uterus and ovaries. On rare occasions, the anesthetic the patient receives could bring in its wake major complications. Taking all these factors into consideration, women who want to have a child might prefer to try IVF instead of sterilization reversal.



The IVF alternative

The IVF (In vitro fertilization) procedure offers an alternative route for women who had tubal sterilization but now have decided they want to have a child. In simple terms, the pregnancy processes that normally take place in the Fallopian tubes take place instead in the laboratory. Success rates are quite high.



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