Female Sterilisation (tubal ligation)

Female sterilisation is also known as tubal ligation, or having your tubes tied.

Sterilisation is a safe and permanent contraceptive method involving a surgical procedure.

Female sterilisation involves preventing the sperm reaching the egg by blocking the fallopian tubes. Fallopian tubes are the tubes eggs travel down to the uterus.

The only form of female sterilisation is tubal ligation.

What is tubal ligation?

  • Tubal ligation is where the fallopian tubes are blocked with small clips
  • It works by stopping the egg from moving through the fallopian tube, which prevents the sperm from meeting the egg
  • The ovaries will continue to produce eggs, but these will be absorbed by the body
  • Tubal ligation is 99.5% effective at preventing pregnancy
  • It should be considered as a permanent method of contraception
  • If reversed, the pregnancy success rate is around 50%

How do I get a tubal ligation?

  1. See a doctor. If you are considering a tubal ligation you should see a doctor for an appointment. They will explain the procedure, organise a referral for you to see a gynaecologist and arrange any necessary tests.
  2. See a gynaecologist. During your appointment with the gynaecologist, they will carry out an assessment to see if you’re suitable for the procedure. If you are deemed suitable and are a private patient, a date for the surgery will be arranged. If you are a public patient, you will be placed on the surgical waiting list.
  3. Have tubal ligation surgery. A small cut is made in your lower abdomen and the clips are placed on your fallopian tubes. You will need a general anaesthetic and can usually go home the same day. In some instances you may have to stay in hospital overnight.
  4. Recovery. Some post-operative discomfort is common.

Advantages

  • Highly effective and permanent
  • Can be carried out at a public hospital at no cost (although waiting times can be long) 
  • Does not usually change your menstrual cycle. Those who have used hormonal contraception previously may notice a change in bleeding
  • An alternative to hormonal contraception
  • Does not affect sexual arousal, enjoyment, response or orgasm

Possible side effects

  • Scarring and/or bruising at the wound site. 
  • Post-operative infection
  • Abdominal and shoulder pain for a few days after the procedure
  • Damage to blood vessels or the bowel during surgery (this is very rare)

Is a tubal ligation right for me?

Tubal ligation may not be the best option if you: 

  • don’t have any children and think you might want children later
  • are young (particularly aged under 30)

What else do I need to know?

  • Very rarely, there can be damage to blood vessels or the bowel through surgery
  • You can breastfeed after a tubal ligation
  • Tubal ligation does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

If you want to know more about how contraception might work best for you, you can speak with one of our friendly doctors. Click here to find your closest clinic and make an appointment.

Useful documents

You might find these downloads helpful:

Female sterilisation (tubal ligation)
How effective is my contraceptive method (efficacy)?

This content is provided for general information and education purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances. It is not to be relied on in substitution for specific advice from a medical professional and Family Planning Tasmania does not accept responsibility for such use. Family Planning Tasmania has taken every effort to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate, however information and knowledge is subject to change. Family Planning Tasmania advises that you always consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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