Female sterilization: what should you take into account?

If you choose sterilization, this is a permanent form of contraception. It is used if you no longer want children and want to become infertile. The fallopian tubes are blocked so that sperm cells can no longer reach the egg. It is important to make this choice carefully. If the situation in your life changes due to a breakup, for example, your thoughts about having (more) children may change. What does female sterilization entail and what do you need to consider to make a good choice?

What sterilization is

This procedure makes you permanently infertile. The fallopian tubes are closed off, so that the sperm cells can no longer reach the egg cell, which means that fertilization can no longer take place. Although it is seen as the method to prevent children from having children, it is not a 100 percent reliable method. This applies to all contraceptives. The chance of getting pregnant is minimal. Women who choose this have often already used other contraceptives, such as the pill, contraceptive rod and IUD.

Think about it carefully

Before you make this final choice, think about it carefully. If you’re not sure yet, take some time to think about it. If all goes well, you have discussed it with your doctor and looked at the pros and cons. If you already have a complete family and no longer want children, it may not be that difficult to make this choice. Women who do not have children and do not wish to have children may have doubts.

What should you take into account?

Your choice of sterilization depends on your circumstances. Young women generally experience more regret than older women, because young women are more likely to have living conditions change, which may also change their desire to remain childless. What other circumstances could influence this decision?

Relationship problems

If you have a bad relationship during sterilization, you may end up breaking up afterwards. One in three marriages fails. More and more people are choosing not to get married. The number of relationships that go wrong is therefore greater. Maybe you’ll meet someone else with whom you want to have children.

Childbirth and termination of pregnancy

If a woman undergoes sterilization while having an abortion, she is more likely to regret it. Often other factors such as relationship problems or a hasty decision play a role. Women who have just had a child also sometimes think that they never want to experience childbirth again. It often turns out that a while later the desire to have another child is greater than the pain they felt during childbirth.

Take this into your consideration

Other contraceptives may be a better fit. Although being infertile is a good choice for many women, for other women it offers no more advantages than using another method of contraception that works well. In addition to the contraceptive pill, there are other contraceptive methods, such as an IUD, condoms, a diaphragm or injection pill.

Menstruation after sterilization

If you are completely convinced that it is the best choice, you can have the sterilization carried out. You have to realize that you will get the old menstrual pattern back. Many women have fewer complaints during menstruation when using the pill than without the pill. So if you suffered from painful or irregular periods before you were on the pill, this pattern may return after sterilization.

The sterilization

The gynecologist will usually make a small incision in the lower edge of the navel through a viewing tube. A viewing area is created to make the fallopian tubes visible. Carbon dioxide is introduced to create a cavity. He then makes another incision in the abdomen, near the upper border of the pubic hair. The fallopian tubes can be closed in different ways. This can be done using rings, clips or sealing. It usually takes place in a day case under anesthesia and the procedure takes fifteen minutes. The gynecologist can perform sterilization during another procedure, for example during a caesarean section.


Shortly after the procedure there is usually abdominal pain for which you can receive painkillers. This can feel painful due to the carbon dioxide used to inflate the abdomen. After a few days it usually disappears again. Sometimes there may be some bleeding from the vagina for a few days because forceps are used to grasp the cervix during the operation. Self-dissolving sutures are often used, which disappear after about 6 weeks. You usually feel a lot better after a few days. The time for complete recovery varies from woman to woman. After sterilization you are immediately safe, although you usually do not have an immediate need for intercourse.

How safe is sterilization?

Sterilization is the surest method to prevent pregnancy. As with other contraceptives, there is no 100 percent guarantee that you will no longer be able to become pregnant. The chance of pregnancy is very small. The older the woman is, the less likely she is to become pregnant because, under normal circumstances, fertility decreases as a woman ages. It is estimated that approximately 3 out of 100 women become pregnant after sterilization under the age of 30. This applies to 2 out of 100 women between the ages of 30 and 35. Approximately 1 in 200 women over the age of 35 become unintentionally pregnant.

Advantages of sterilization

Many women experience this as a relief because they no longer have to worry about taking the pill daily or other responsibilities for taking contraception. If you suffered from side effects from the pill, they will disappear after the procedure. For some women this means an improvement in sexual life. Most women are satisfied with the sterilization and do not regret it.


If you regret your sterilization, there is a possibility of a recovery operation. In principle, sterilization is a definitive procedure. Reversing a sterilization requires a larger operation that is much more difficult than the sterilization itself. The chance of pregnancy after the repair operation depends, among other things, on the way in which the fallopian tubes are closed. The risk of an ectopic pregnancy is slightly increased after repair surgery.

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