Female sterilisation is considered a permanent form of contraception. The operation involves cutting, sealing or blocking the fallopian tubes. This prevents the eggs from reaching the uterus (womb) where they could become fertilised, resulting in pregnancy.
Reversing female sterilisation
Female sterilisation can be reversed, but it is a very difficult process that involves removing the blocked part of the fallopian tube and rejoining the ends. There is no guarantee that you will be fertile again (be able to get pregnant) after a sterilisation reversal.
The success rates of female sterilisation reversal vary widely and depend on factors such as age and the method that was used in the original operation. For example, if your tubes were clipped rather than tied, a successful reversal is more likely.
Sterilisation reversal is not usually available on the NHS. If it is available in your area, there may be a very long waiting list. Speak to your GP for more information.
It is possible to have a sterilisation reversal done privately, although it will cost in the region of £4,500-£5,500. Again, there is no guarantee that the procedure will be successful.
If a sterilisation reversal is not possible, fertility treatment such as IVF may be an option. The cost will depend upon the treatment you have and you should consult your GP for further advice. As with a reversal, there is no guarantee that fertility treatment will be successful.
For these reasons, sterilisation is only usually recommended if you are completely sure that you no longer want children. Before deciding to be sterilised, you should also consider the other options that are available to you.
Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) methods, such as the contraceptive implant, contraceptive injection and IUD (intrauterine device, or coil), may be more suitable if you do not want to get pregnant in the next few years but you decide to in the future.
A vasectomy (male sterilisation) is another possibility, and it might be a better option if you and your partner already have children and you do not want to have any more.