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Permanent Birth Control Methods

Medically reviewed by L. Anderson, PharmD Last updated on Jun 19, 2018.

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

Hormone-free contraceptive implants, such as Essure can be placed into the fallopian tubes by a healthcare provider as an office procedure.

In April, 2018, the FDA issued a warning concerning the Essure implant. Dangerous complications, such as perforation of the uterus and/or fallopian tubes, migration of inserts to the abdominal or pelvic cavity, persistent pain, and suspected allergic or hypersensitivity reactions have occurred. Other effects, such as headache, fatigue, weight changes, hair loss and mood changes like depression were also reported but may or may not be linked to Essure. In order to better inform women about these risks, the FDA required additional communications about Essure.

  • Healthcare providers must review a brochure about Essure with patients to ensure they understand the risks, benefits and other details about implantation.
  • The patient must be given the opportunity to sign an acknowledgment, which must be signed by the doctor performing the implant.

The implant Adiana is no longer available because the manufacturer discontinued production.

No incisions or general anesthesia are required with tubal implants. Side effects during or immediately following the implant procedure may include:

  • mild-to-moderate cramping
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • bleeding
  • spotting.

Most patients are back to their normal routine the same day or within 1 to 2 days. If implants are placed, an x-ray verification of placement and blockage is required in 3 months. Another method of birth control must be used for the 3 months following the Essure implantation until verification is confirmed. Once confirmed by your doctor, you can stop using other birth control methods.

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 will probably assist with this, too. A vasectomy may cost between $400 and $1000, while the sterilization procedures for women usually cost between $1000 to $5000. The costs may vary widely.

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 Essure
  • Non-surgical sterilization procedure (outpatient).
  • Small metal coil (tubal implant) inserted into each fallopian tube, scar tissue grows over implant to block tube; must use additional form of birth control for 3 months; at 3 months have an x-ray to confirm tube closure.
  • <1% failure rate but rarely reversible; expensive but permanent (insurance may cover).
  • Some women report temporary, mild cramping during or after procedure; does not protect against STDs.
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.