Which is More Effective: Tubal Ligation or Vasectomy?

Where do we want to live? Should we rent or buy? Where should we go on vacation? How should we decorate for the holidays? Partners in life must answer a lot of questions together. However, perhaps and undoubtedly, the most important of these questions are centered around children. Namely, do you want to have children, and if you already have children, do you want to have more children?

While it might seem like receiving a manual that could help you answer these questions would seem nice, alas, you do not; and, even if you did, would you really want to use it? After all, every couple is as unique as the individuals, and as such, the answers to the many questions that you will encounter along your journey will be very different than the answers that would be appropriate for other couples (the questions you’ll face will vary, too!).

Which is More Effective: Tubal Ligation or Vasectomy?

When it comes to having children – whether you want to have them at all or you want to have more if you already have them – you and your spouse are going to want to have this discussion.

If you’ve decided that you want to remain just husband and wife (sans kiddos), or you already have children but you’ve come to a point in your lives where you really don’t want to have anymore, the next thing you’re going to have to decide is how you’re going to prevent pregnancy.

While contraception, such as condoms or (permanent) birth control, are options, they aren’t guaranteed to work. In addition, they can come with some unwanted side effects and risk complications.

Birth control, for instance, can increase the risk of cancer and can do serious damage to your hormones. Condoms can cause allergic reactions that can lead to skin irritations and can also be uncomfortable.

Learn more: How Vasectomy Compares to other Forms of Birth Control?

What's The Solution?

So, what’s the solution if you’ve decided that you don’t want to have any more children or you don’t want to have kids at all? Sterilization is the most effective option.

For men, this would include a vasectomy procedure.

For women, the sterilization method would entail tubal litigation.

Which one should you choose?

For more information about tubal ligation and vasectomies, and to help you determine whether she or he should proceed with sterilization, keep reading.

Vasectomy Explained

A vasectomy is a very common procedure that approximately 500,000 American men undergo each year. It’s a fairly and relatively safe procedure. It’s completed quickly, right in a local urology office, and is considered the safest and most effective method of birth control.

During a vasectomy, the doctor will make a small incision in the scrotum or will stretch out the skin on the scrotum in order to access the vas deferens (the part of the male genitalia that allows sperm to travel from the scrotum to the penis and make its way into the ejaculate).

The vas deferens will be severed, which prevents sperm from traveling into the ejaculate. Once the procedure is complete, the male will be asked to provide two semen samples within a specified period of time post-vasectomy. The semen will then be tested to determine if it is, indeed, sperm-free, and thus, if the male is, in fact, sterilized.

It takes, on average, about 20 to 30 minutes to complete a vasectomy. Recovery time for a vasectomy ranges anywhere from a few days to a week to for a full recovery.

Learn more: Vasectomy Cost & Procedure

Tubal Ligation Explained

Tubal ligation is the more popular form of sterilization in America. Around 700,000 women opt to have this procedure each year. In fact, married couples are more likely to choose tubal ligation over vasectomy.

Though tubal ligation is more popular, it is also more invasive. The procedure can be performed during childbirth, or it can be done under general anesthesia in an outpatient setting.

During the procedure, the surgeon will make an incision in the naval and will inflate the abdomen with nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide. A laparoscope will then be inserted into the abdomen and the fallopian tubes will be clamped, cut, or burned. This surgical procedure prevents eggs from traveling from the ovaries to the uterus.

Patients can go home several hours after the procedure, and it takes about one to three weeks to fully recover.

Which is better: Vasectomy or Tubal Ligation?

While both options are effective, it’s important to note that tubal ligation is the more invasive form of permanent birth control. Not to mention, the recovery is also longer. Also, tubal ligation is irreversible, while a vasectomy has the potential to be reversed in a vasectomy reversal procedure.

Only you can decide which option is best for your situation!

Additional Information:

Are You Done Having Kids? Deciding on Vasectomy

Tubal Ligation (Medlineplus.gov)

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