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? Life partners 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 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 – 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 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. It can also do 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 don’t want to have kids at all? Sterilization is the most effective option.

  • For men: a vasectomy.
  • For women: a tubal ligation.

Which one should you choose?

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

Vasectomy Explained

A vasectomy is a very common procedure that approximately 500,000 American men undergo each year. It’s a relatively safe outpatient procedure and is done in a urology office. It takes, on average, about 20 to 30 minutes to complete a vasectomy and is considered the safest and most effective method of birth control.

The doctor will first use local anesthesia. Next, they will make a small cut in the scrotum or stretch out the skin on the scrotum to access the vas deferens. (the tube that carries sperm from the scrotum to the penis and makes its way into the ejaculate).

The vas deferens will be severed. This 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 post-vasectomy.

The semen will then be tested to determine if it is, indeed, sperm-free, and thus, if the male is sterilized.

Recovery time for a vasectomy ranges anywhere from a few days to a week for a full recovery.

Learn more: Vasectomy Cost & Procedure

Tubal Ligation Explained

Tubal ligation also known as tubal sterilization is the more popular form of sterilization in America. Around 700,000 women opt to have this procedure each year. 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 belly button, and then inflate the abdomen with nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide. A laparoscope will then be inserted into the abdomen. The fallopian tubes are cut, clamped, or burned. This surgical procedure blocks the fallopian tubes and 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.

Tubal ligation does come with some risks. Women have become pregnant after a tubal, and it comes with the risk of ectopic pregnancy.

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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