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Am I a Good Candidate for Sterilization?

Your choice of birth control is a very personal one. You have to take into account your family plans, your level of sexual activity, and of course, the convenience and effectiveness of each method.

Sterilization is definitely effective and convenient when it comes to preventing pregnancy, but it’s something you shouldn’t go into without a lot of consideration. 

In women, sterilization means tubal ligation — a procedure in which your fallopian tubes are closed off. The procedure eliminates pregnancies because sperm can’t reach the eggs that your ovaries release into the fallopian tubes.

At Capital Women’s Care, we help you understand your birth control options. Here’s what you should think about when deciding whether sterilization is right for you.

Is your family definitely complete?

Sterilization is permanent, so you should be sure your family is complete. This could mean you already have a full nest, or you have no interest in having children at all. Only you and your partner can make this decision. 

How active is your sex life?

Sterilization is a pretty good guarantee against pregnancy — fewer than 1 in 100 women who have tubal ligation get pregnant within a year of the procedure — but it can’t protect you from sexually transmitted disease.

If you have an active sex life with multiple partners, or you have a partner who has multiple partners, you’ll still need to protect yourself against issues like herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. 

A condom isn’t the most reliable when it comes to protecting you from pregnancy, but it is your best option if you’re trying to stay safe from STDs.

How old are you?

Even if you’re sure you don’t want kids right now, remember that life takes some crazy turns. If you’re young, be aware: Sterilization isn’t usually reversible, even if you meet your soulmate later in your child-bearing years and you both decide you want to start a family.

Yes, you may be able to try to reverse the sterilization with surgery or use assisted reproductive technology (ART), but these are quite involved and not inexpensive. Your insurance often will not cover them. 

Finally, they’re no guarantee that you’ll get pregnant even with the best medical assistance.

Have you considered other forms of birth control?

If you want long-term protection from pregnancy, sterilization is just one option. Some intrauterine devices (IUDs), like Paragard®, keep you protected for up to 10 years. 

You don’t have to worry at all about the effectiveness of an IUD. Unlike the pill or a diaphragm, there are no steps to follow after insertion. Plus, IUDs have a 99% success rate when it comes to pregnancy prevention.

An IUD is inserted into your uterus and repels sperm using copper, which has been FDA-approved for more than 30 years. Insurance usually covers IUD insertion, and the procedure to place it is simple. You won’t need a long recovery or time off as you might with tubal ligation.

Paragard is also a non-hormonal method of birth control, so you don’t have to worry about side effects or possible contraindications associated with hormones. Plus, Paragard can be removed at any time and you could get pregnant. 

Hormonal IUDs that protect you for 3-7 years are also available for reliable birth control.

Are you tired of your period?

If you’re seeking sterilization in hopes of getting rid of your monthly menstrual cycle, you’re out of luck. Even if you have your “tubes tied,” your uterus remains intact and will still bleed every month. 

The only way to eliminate your period is with specialized hormones or a hysterectomy — neither of which are appropriate for birth control purposes. 

At Capital Women’s Care, we’re available to answer all of your questions about sterilization and other forms of birth control. Our goal is to educate you as much as possible about your options so you make a decision that’s right for you.

 Call the Silver Spring or Laurel, Maryland, office today to set up a consultation, or request an appointment online

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