Skip to Content

Permanent Birth Control Methods

Medically reviewed on Nov 3, 2013 by L. Anderson, PharmD.

When Future Plans Do Not Call For Biological Children

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. This may also be an option for women who are through having children and do not or cannot 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. Reversal of permanent methods of birth control are difficult. Partners should discuss the desirability of permanent forms of birth control, think about future plans for additional biological children, and discuss these options with their healthcare provider before making a final decision.

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. As with any surgical procedure, infections, bleeding and reactions to the anesthetics may occur. Most patients are back to their normal routine within 2-3 days, although patients may need to avoid strenuous physical work or exercise for about a week or more.

Hormone-free tubal implants, such as Essure and Adiana can be placed into the fallopian tubes by a healthcare provider as an office procedure. No incisions or general anesthesia are required. Side effects during or immediately following the implant procedure may include mild-to-moderate cramping, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, bleeding, or 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 until verification is confirmed.

Sterilization procedures are usually covered by health insurance. The patient may still have copays or coinsurance that they must pay out-of-pocket. The patient may want to call their health insurance company to determine what type of coverage they have, and how much their copay or coinsurance will cost. A vasectomy may cost between $400-$1000, while the sterilization procedures for women usually cost between $1000 to $5000.

Other warnings and side effects may occur with the use of birth control. It is important to review the specific consumer information for the birth control of choice and discuss any questions or concerns with your healthcare provider.

Permanent Birth Control Options

Generic Name Brand Name Description
Tubal Ligation not applicable Surgical female sterilization, a 20-30 minute procedure (outpatient); patient usually goes home same day; fallopian tubes are surgically closed to prevent eggs from leaving ovaries; <1% failure rate but rarely reversible; expensive but permanent (insurance may cover); does not protect against STDs
Tubal Implants Essure, Adiana 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, and 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 15-30 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

See Also: