Vasectomy vs. Tubal Ligation

tubal ligation
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According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, tubal ligations and vasectomies are almost 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. But which is the best to choose?

There comes a time to discuss permanent birth control options for many couples. Perhaps their family is complete; they’ve had as many children as they want, or maybe they don’t want to have any children.

Tubal ligation is a sterilization procedure for females. A vasectomy is a sterilization procedure for males. It can be difficult, however, to decide between these two surgical procedures.

To make your decision easier, keep reading as we provide valuable information about these types of birth control.

Tubal Ligation

Of these two procedures, tubal ligation is performed more often. It is also more complicated.

Tubal ligation is cutting or blocking the fallopian tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. This procedure happens under general anesthesia. It may accompany other procedures, such as a cesarean section.

The surgeon makes incisions in the abdomen to insert a laparoscope, an instrument with a camera, and a light. Once the fallopian tubes are located, the surgeon uses instruments to cut them. They may then get tied off, clamped, or cauterized.

There is also an option to keep the tubes whole and close them off with clips, bands, or rings. Either way, the surgery takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

Once the surgeon puts stitches in the incisions, the woman will need to spend a few hours in the recovery room before going home. Recovery time could be anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks, more if another surgery was involved. The procedure does not affect sex drive or menstrual periods.

Tubal ligation costs between $1,500 to $6,000. Insurance may cover the procedure.

The reversal of tubal ligation is possible, with a success rate of about 50% to 70% in those under 35, with that rate dropping with age.


A vasectomy is less complicated than tubal ligation. In this procedure, each vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the penis, is cut. The ends are then tied off or cauterized.

This surgery happens under local anesthesia and takes about 15 to 30 minutes. First, the surgeon makes an incision in the scrotum and then cuts the vas deferens. Both ends of the vas deferens get sealed in a closed vasectomy, while an open vasectomy leaves the end connected to the testicles open.

In a no scalpel vasectomy, the surgeon clamps the vas deferens on the outside. The scrotum is then punctured to cut the vas deferens and tie off the ends. There are no stitches required, and the recovery time is shorter than a traditional vasectomy.

A man can go home directly after a vasectomy, and the average recovery time is less than a week, though it will take longer for sperm to stop being in the ejaculate. A follow-up visit will be necessary to check for sperm in the semen. There should be no change in sex drive or performance.

A vasectomy costs, on average, anywhere from $250 to $1000. Insurance often covers the procedure.

It is possible to have a vasectomy reversed. The success rate is about 70%.

Making the Right Choice

There are pros and cons for each of these types of surgery. It’s important to consider everything when choosing between tubal ligation and vasectomy.

If you and your partner are thinking about going this route for permanent birth control, sit down with a doctor to go over each procedure. Decide which one makes the most sense for you. The effects of both procedures are long-lasting, so a decision should not be made lightly.

Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more tips on taking care of your health.

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