Pros and Cons of Getting Your Tubes Tied

If you are done having children or have made the decision not to have children, then you may want to consider a permanent form of birth control. Every woman has a different reason for choosing a permanent procedure like female sterilization as a form of birth control. Some women may have health risks associated with becoming pregnant, and others may not want to pass down a genetic disorder that they or their partner carry. Tubal ligation, commonly known as getting your tubes tied, can be a great option if you are done having children.

As with any procedure, they are pros and cons you will have to weigh before deciding that getting your tubes tied is the best solution for your body. There are advantages to getting tubal ligation that are not possible with other forms of birth control. Tubal ligation is recommended for adult women who have had time to weigh the benefits and risks carefully. After reading this, give Dr. Lodge a call at Cool Springs OBGYN located near Nashville.

What is Tubal Ligation?

Tubal ligation, commonly known as getting your tubes tied, is a surgical procedure involving the fallopian tubes. These tubes connect your uterus and ovaries and provide a passageway for the egg to pass through once released. Tubal ligation is a type of permanent birth control where these tubes are either cut completely or closed off, preventing the egg from reaching the uterus and being fertilized by sperm.

Reasons people may choose to get their tubes tied:

  • They are done having children or have decided they do not want any.
  • Health issues that could come with a dangerous pregnancy.
  • Fear of passing down genetic conditions.

Procedural Details

The procedure can be performed at various times and in different ways, depending on your circumstances:

Immediately Following Childbirth

  • Vaginal Delivery: If you choose tubal ligation the day after a vaginal birth, the surgeon performs a mini-laparotomy. A small cut is made under the belly button to access the fallopian tubes. This procedure can be done with either general anesthesia (to put you in a sleep-like state) or regional anesthesia (to block pain in the surgery area).
  • C-Section: During a cesarean section, the surgeon can perform the tubal ligation using the same incision made to deliver the baby. Often, a complete salpingectomy is performed, where the entire fallopian tube on each side is removed to further reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

Elective Surgery

  • Laparoscopy: About six weeks after childbirth or at any other time outside of pregnancy, a procedure called laparoscopy can be done. The surgeon makes a small incision near the belly button and inflates the abdomen with gas to create space. A thin tool with a light and camera called a laparoscope, is inserted to view the pelvic organs. Additional small incisions may be made to insert other tools needed to remove or block the fallopian tubes. General anesthesia is typically used for this outpatient procedure.

Interval Tubal Ligation

  • If performed at a time that is not related to childbirth, the procedure is called an interval tubal ligation. This is usually done using laparoscopy with general anesthesia. Methods to seal the fallopian tubes include burning with an electric current (cautery) or blocking with titanium or spring-loaded clips.

Understanding these variations can help you and your healthcare provider decide the best time and method for the procedure based on your individual circumstances and preferences.

The Pros of Tubal Litigation

There are various advantages to consider that are different than what other forms of birth control offer.

  • If you are looking for a permanent form of birth control, this is it. There are no pills, shots, prophylactics, vaginal ring, or other types of birth control that you have to remember. Once your tubes are cut, the egg can no longer be fertilized.
  • Getting your tubes tied is effective. After the procedure, the odds of getting pregnant again are 1 in 200. The odds of pregnancy are less than 1% and are lower than other forms of birth control. Getting your tubes tied does not 100% prevent pregnancy because, over time, tubes may grow back naturally in some women.
  • Your hormones are left intact. By leaving the ovaries in place, your hormones won’t be affected. Other forms of birth control can cause mood swings, weight gain, headaches, and menstrual issues. Unlike a hysterectomy, a careful tubal ligation leaves the ovary intact and able to continue making necessary feminine hormones.
  • Did we mention no weight gain? Since your ovaries are left intact, hormones that control your weight and appetite are not affected. This means you won’t gain weight from a tubal ligation procedure.
  • Your risk of developing ovarian cancer lessens. Even though ovarian cancer is uncommon, it is still the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in women. One reason for the decreased occurrence is that many times, this cancer develops in the fallopian tubes. If the tubes are tied off, cancer has a more difficult time traveling to the ovary.

The Cons of Tubal Ligation

  • There is an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is where the egg is fertilized and implants inside the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus. This type of pregnancy can not reach full term, and you will need to speak to your ob-gyn to determine an emergency contraception option.
  • Tubal ligation is permanent female sterilization, so you must be very sure that you no longer want the option of pregnancy. Tubal ligation reversal is a possible surgical option to reopen the fallopian tubes. Still, its success will depend on your age, the type of surgery you had, and your reproductive health.
  • While this prevents pregnancy, it does not prevent STDs. Protective measures will need to take place to ensure you do not contract transmittable diseases from a partner. A female condom is one way to take control of your reproductive health.
  • Like any surgery, there are risks with more invasive procedures. You risk damage to your bladder, bowel, and blood vessels. Incisions can also become infected, leave scars, or lingering abdominal pain.

What is the Recommended Age to Get Your Tubes Tied?

Federally, there is no legal age requirement to get your tubes tied. However, the legal age varies between states, but you must be between 18 and 21 to undergo this procedure. It is reported that 25% of women under 30 years of age who choose tubal ligation experience regret. We all change as we grow and mature, and many times our life goals change with time or even with a partner. It is recommended to wait until your 30s to choose to get your tubes tied.

If getting your tubes tied isn’t the form of pregnancy prevention that works for you, there are many other options. Some low-maintenance options that are 99% effective include IUD and a birth control implant.

  • IUD: This is a tiny device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. Different FDA-approved brands may use copper or hormones to prevent sperm from getting to the egg. While it is long-term, it is also reversible. The IUD lasts 3 – 12 years and is 99% effective. This method can cost $0 – $1,300.
  • Birth Control Implant: This implant, also known as Nexplanon, is a small thin rod that is inserted into your arm. It releases hormones into the body that prevent pregnancy. This method is reversible and can last up to 5 years. It is 99% effective and costs $0 – $1,300.

Requirements for Getting Your Tubes Tied

  • Find out the age laws for your state and of your medical coverage provider. This may disqualify you from having the procedure paid for by your insurance provider.
  • If seeking payment through a federally-funded medical plan like Medicaid, you must be found “mentally competent.”
  • With a federally-funded plan, you must wait 30 days have you have given “voluntarily given informed consent” around the process.

Cost of Tubal Ligation

The cost of tubal ligation can vary widely. The final price will depend on what kind you get and whether or not your health insurance company will cover some of the procedure or even the full cost. Tubal ligation costs range from $0 to $6,000. To find out what you might be paying, schedule an appointment with Dr. Lodge.

Schedule a Consultation for Tubal Ligation

If you would like more information about the advantages of female sterilization or would like to know if this option of pregnancy prevention is right for you, please schedule an appointment with an experienced gynecologist. Dr. Jefrey Lodge is a compassionate and experienced women’s health doctor who can assess your current health status and give you the best options that will work for you.