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Permanent Birth Control Methods

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Aug 23, 2020.

What Are the Options for Permanent Birth Control?

Birth control is certainly one of the top medical breakthroughs in modern history. But are there options if you choose to not have children, are done having children, or decide to adopt a child? What can you do to prevent pregnancy without having to use hormonal or even non-hormonal birth control?

There are options, for both women and men.

Tubal ligation or tubal implants for women, and vasectomy for men are permanent methods of birth control.

  • Sterilization is an option if you do not want biological children in the future, or are finished with having children.
  • May be an option if you cannot or do not want to use hormonal birth control or other birth control methods.
  • Sterilization may be an option if a person does not want to pass on an inherited, genetic disorder.

Before you go this route, know that reversal of permanent methods of birth control are difficult. Reversal is possible in some circumstances with special surgical procedures, but there is no guarantee of success.

You (and your significant other, if needed) should discuss the desirability of permanent forms of birth control, think about future plans for additional biological children, and discuss these options with your healthcare provider before making a final decision.

Tubal Ligation and Vasectomy

Tubal ligation and vasectomy are outpatient, surgical procedures that do not usually require an overnight stay in the hospital. These are considered low risk procedures. Local, regional or general anesthesia may be used.

  • However, as with any surgical procedure, infections, bleeding and reactions to the anesthetics may occur.
  • Most patients are back to their normal routine within 2 to 3 days, although patients may need to avoid strenuous physical work, exercise, and sex for a few days to about a week or two.
  • Your doctor will explain your limitations and time-frame based upon the procedure and your medical condition.

Contraceptive Implant Essure and Adiana

  • Essure was a permanently implanted birth control device for women (female sterilization).
  • On December 31, 2018, Bayer stopped selling and distributing the Essure device in the U.S. Sales of the device had stopped in 2017 in all other countries.
  • Health care providers could implant Essure up to one year from the date the device was purchased.
  • Women who have been using Essure successfully to prevent pregnancy can and should continue to do so. However, speak with your doctor or other care provider about any safety concerns you may have about the device or if you are experiencing any pain. You my need to have the implant surgically removed.

In addition, the Adiana system for female sterilization isn't available in the U.S. anymore. The manufacturer stopped producing the Adiana system for financial reasons in 2012.

Learn more: Essure discontinued: What does that mean for you?

Is Permanent Birth Control Covered by Insurance?

Sterilization procedures are usually covered by health insurance. You may still have a copay, deductible, or coinsurance that you must pay out-of-pocket.

You should call your health insurance company prior to the procedure to determine what type of coverage you have, and how much the copay, deductible or coinsurance will cost. Your doctor's office may assist you with determining your coverage.

A vasectomy may cost up to $1000, while the sterilization procedures for women can cost up to $6000. The costs may vary widely, and your insurance may cover a portion of it.

Permanent Birth Control Options

Procedure Proprietary Name Description
Tubal Ligation not applicable
  • Surgical female sterilization, a 30 minute outpatient surgical procedure; patient usually goes home same day.
  • Fallopian tubes are surgically closed to prevent eggs from leaving ovaries; may be done after giving birth or at other times.
  • <1% failure rate but rarely reversible.
  • Expensive but permanent (insurance may cover).
  • Does not protect against STDs.
Contraceptive Implants Adiana, Essure
  • No longer available 
Vasectomy not applicable
  • Surgical male sterilization, a 15 to 30 minute procedure (outpatient).
  • Vas deferens cut to prevent sperm from traveling into semem; sperm count required at check-up to confirm success of procedure.
  • <1% failure rate but rarely reversible.
  • Expensive but permanent (insurance may cover).
  • Does not protect against STDs.

If you have other questions about other birth control options, it is important to review the specific consumer information discuss any questions or concerns with your healthcare provider.

Learn More: Birth Control Guide

See Also


Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.