What is permanent contraception?
Stopping pregnancy for good means choosing a type of birth control that makes it extremely unlikely to get pregnant, known as permanent contraception. It involves a surgery that either blocks or cuts out the fallopian tubes, which are the tubes that connect the ovaries and the uterus. This passageway is where the egg and the sperm meet to create a pregnancy. By blocking or cutting off the fallopian tubes, the egg and the sperm can never meet, so a pregnancy can never happen. The ovaries still release an egg every month, but the egg is absorbed by the body instead of reaching the uterus.
Stopping pregnancy for good is a very serious decision that should not be taken lightly. It should only be done by women who are absolutely certain that they never want to have children in the future. Sometimes, life can change in unexpected ways. The decision to stop pregnancy for good should be made by the woman herself. It is best to avoid such a big decision when one is feeling stressed or pressured, such as right after giving birth or having a miscarriage, or when there are problems with money or relationships. No one should force a woman to stop pregnancy for good.
*Stopping pregnancy for good does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms should still be used to prevent STIs.
There are two main ways to achieve permanent contraception: tubal ligation and salpingectomy. Both ways can be done in different methods, depending on when they are done (right after giving birth or at another time) and your preference along with your doctor's advice.
Tubal ligation, also known as getting your “tubes tied”, is a surgery that involves blocking the fallopian tubes, which effectively eliminates the ability to fall pregnant. When you ovulate, an egg is released from one of your ovaries, and travels down the fallopian tube into your uterus. There it stays, waiting to be fertilised until it’s broken down and reabsorbed by the body during menstruation. Tubal ligation stops any eggs from travelling from your ovaries into your uterus by blocking the path altogether. Tubal ligation does not cause any changes to the periods, and it does not affect sexual intercourse or sexual feelings. Some women are more relaxed after the surgery as they are no longer worried about getting pregnant. Tubal ligation is performed as day surgery under anaesthetic.
At Northside Gynaecology, we perform tubal ligation via laparoscopic surgery, which uses one or two small cuts in the abdomen. Small specialised instruments are inserted through these cuts, as well as a small camera called a laparoscope is inserted through one of the cuts to see the fallopian tubes. Using video from the camera to guide her, your surgeon carefully closes off your fallopian tubes, using clips or a band to seal them shut. You can choose to have your tubes sealed using other methods (such as cauterisation or cut-and-stitch) - your gynaecologist will discuss your wishes with you when planning your laparoscopy.
When the procedure is done, the instruments are gently removed and you’re off to recovery. Most women go home the same day, and are back to normal activities after a couple of weeks. Laparoscopic procedures are minimally invasive, and offer faster recovery times and less risk of infection than more traditional open surgical procedures. We do offer single cut laparoscopy too, which means that the procedure is performed through only one cut about 2cms long. That means less time for your body to heal, and a barely noticeable scar.
After laparoscopy, there may be some tummy or shoulder pain which improves over a day or two. It can be about 7 days before you feel completely well again.
Getting your tubes tied might be a good option for you if:
- You are finished having children;
- You are unwilling or unable to use other forms of contraception, and;
- You are in a monogamous relationship and have both been cleared of STDs.
Tubal ligation is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, it’s considered a permanent procedure, so careful consideration is needed before deciding to go ahead.
If you think you might want children later, it’s best to consider another contraceptive option.
It is possible to repair fallopian tubes after a tubal ligation. But it’s not an advisable procedure, as only about 50% of women over 40 years of age fall pregnant after a reversal. The cost of a tubal ligation reversal can be expensive. Also, the risk of an ectopic pregnancy is higher.
Tubal ligation should be considered a permanent and final decision to stop pregnancy for good. Undoing a tubal ligation surgery involves major surgery, is not always successful, and is rarely covered by insurance plans. During your consultation your doctor will go over this as well as any complications that may occur during surgery such as bleeding and infections, however these occur uncommonly.
Salpingectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing one or both of the fallopian tubes. Salpingectomy is also a very effective way to stop pregnancy for good. It is very unlikely to fail, as there is no possibility of the tubes reconnecting or healing after the surgery. It also reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, which is a type of cancer that is difficult to test and detect.
The procedure is approached relatively similar to a tubal ligation, with several other small cuts being made to remove the tube.
If you are considering salpingectomy, it's essential to weigh the permanence of this decision. The effectiveness of the procedure, combined with the lowered risk of ovarian cancer, makes it a compelling option for those who have concluded their family planning.
How to choose the best way?
We understand that choosing the most suitable contraceptive option for you is a personal decision. Our approach involves engaging in conversations about your unique circumstances, needs, and desires. Together, we'll work collaboratively to select the best method tailored to your specific situation. When deciding on a contraceptive method, consider factors such as your certainty about not wanting children in the future, your preference for a less invasive or more effective surgical option, your desire to minimise the risk of ovarian cancer, and the availability and cost of the chosen procedure. Additionally, we'll take into account your personal and medical history. Throughout this process, you can rely on the advice and recommendations provided by our experienced medical professionals who are dedicated to your well-being.
Cost and Consultation
Tubal ligation and salpingectomy costs vary depending on a number of factors, including whether you have private health insurance, what your policy covers, and any special considerations regarding your surgery. Our gynaecologists perform tubal ligation and salpingectomy surgeries at Everton Park (North West Private Hospital).
Contact us on 07 3054 4687 to speak to the team about a quote. Alternatively, click here to message us online.