Vasectomy vs. Tubal Ligation

The most commonly used type of birth control in the US is sterilization. Either the man or the woman can undergo a sterilization procedure. While this is a popular choice, many men and women wonder whether to choose vasectomy vs tubal ligation. A vasectomy is done on men and a tubal ligation is done on women. Selecting the right procedure can be stressful for any couple. This article will discuss these procedures, so you can make an better decision.

Vasectomy vs. Tubal Ligation

These two procedures are actually very similar. When a man has a vasectomy, the doctor cuts the vas deferens, which are the tubes that send sperm from the testicles to the urethra, where they are ejaculated. In a tubal ligation, on the other hand, the cutting is done on the fallopian tubes, in which the fertilized egg travels from the ovaries to the uterus and are where normal fertilization happens. Both of these medical procedures prevent future pregnancies by making sure that the sperm and egg are always separated.

1.   Which One Is Safer?

When considering vasectomy vs tubal ligation, you should know that both procedures are very safe. There are rare complications of both, such as a local infection or bleeding that usually go away with proper treatment. When the woman has a tubal ligation, it is done under general anesthesia and a laparoscope with a tiny incision. Vasectomies can be done using local anesthesia. The incision is tiny so that sutures may not be required. Generally, complication rates for tubal ligations are slightly higher than that for vasectomies.

2.   Which One Is More Effective?

Both a tubal ligation and a vasectomy are extremely effective. Studies on failure rates for sterilization have proven it. The chances of getting pregnant when having a vasectomy or tubal ligation are less than 1 percent. This means that they are perhaps some of the best ways to prevent a pregnancy you can choose from.

3.   What About the Cost?

The cost of a vasectomy or a tubal ligation depends on what your insurance covers for and your geographic location. Most insurance companies will pay for a tubal ligation so you won't have to pay for anything. If you have to pay for sterilization yourself, choose a vasectomy because these are one third the cost of a tubal ligation procedure.

4.   Can I Get It Reversed?

A reversal is possible for both tubal ligations and vasectomies. Reversals are, however, very expensive and are not always successful. About 50 percent of couples with a reversal will experience a healthy pregnancy late. It depends on which surgery you choose, how it is done, the female's age, and the lapse between sterilization and reversal. If you don't know if you really want kids or not, you should resort to another form of birth control, such as the IUD or the implant. Young couples may wish to avoid a permanent sterilization as they may later regret having it done.

5.   Which One to Choose

So, which should it be vasectomy vs tubal ligation? Some women feel as though the responsibility for birth control lies with the woman and that the man will not agree to a vasectomy. In the US, it is more common to have a tubal ligation than it is to have a vasectomy. Men tend to choose having a vasectomy because it is a simple and safe procedure to undergo. Men also can feel as though they should take some responsibility for contraception.

6.   How Long Will Each Procedure Take?

Women who have a tubal ligation may have it done in a hospital or surgical care center. It is done under general anesthesia, and takes longer and is more complex than having a vasectomy. Most tubal ligations are done using laparoscopic technique, which takes several hours and a period of recovery. Vasectomies are generally office procedures that only take about 30 minutes to perform.

7.   Are There Any Other Choices?

If you can't decide between a vasectomy vs tubal ligation, there are other procedures you can have that are also permanent. There is the choice of a hysteroscopic tubal ligation that doesn't need general anesthesia and is both cheaper and better tolerated than a regular tubal ligation. You can also choose to take hormones for birth control in the form of birth control patches, birth control pills or a vaginal ring containing hormones. There is a progestin-only form of birth control that involves IUDs, implants, and injections of progesterone. Talk to your doctor about all the options available to you before you decide to have a vasectomy or tubal ligation.

Before Making Your Decision

Before making the decision of having a vasectomy vs tubal ligation, know all the available options you can choose from and have a long discussion with your partner as to which type of birth control to choose from. You need to know that, most of the time, sterilization of both the man and woman is permanent and you need to make sure you don't want to have any more children before making the decision. As discussed above, tubal ligations and vasectomies may be reversed, but some couples don't get pregnant and later regret making the decision to have the procedure done. You may decide to have a reversal of a tubal ligation or vasectomy if you find a new partner you want to have a family with or if you suffer the death of a child after it is born.

If you want to know more about these procedures, for vasectomy, click HERE, for a tubal ligation, click HERE.

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