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Permanent Birth Control Methods

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Updated June 03, 2014

Also known as "permanent infertility", permanent birth control methods are specific surgical (and non-surgical) procedures. People can choose a permanent birth control method if they know for sure that they do not want to have any more (or any) children. Permanent birth control tends to be the most popular method of birth control in the United States.

1. Vasectomy

Photo © ADAM

Vasectomy is a permanent birth control procedure where a small incision is made in the upper part of the man’s scrotum. The two tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperm into the semen are cut apart and then tied off. The incision is closed with stitches. Vasectomies are often performed in a surgeon's office; the man is awake, and the doctor will use local anesthesia to numb the area. After the procedure, a man will still produce semen, but it will be free of sperm and will not cause pregnancy.

2. Tubal Ligation

Photo © ADAM

Tubal ligation (or tubal sterilization) is a surgical procedure that permanently sterilizes a woman by preventing an egg from traveling to the uterus; it also blocks sperm from being able to enter the fallopian tube, where fertilization normally occurs. This permanent birth control method is performed in a hospital or outpatient clinic while the woman is under some form of anesthesia. During these procedures, one or two small incisions are made in the abdomen. The fallopian tubes are clipped, cut and/or cauterized(sealed shut). The incision is then closed with stitches.

3. Non-Surgical Permanent Birth Control

Photo © 2010 Dawn Stacey

Hysteroscopic sterilization is a less invasive, non-surgical alternative to tubal ligation. This option prevents conception by means of "plugging up" the fallopian tubes. Implants are inserted that causes tissue to build up around them -- thus blocking the entry way for sperm. Two non-surgical permanent birth control methods were available, Essure and Adiana, but Adiana was discontinued in April 2012. Hysteroscopic sterilization usually takes place in a physician 's office without the need of general anesthesia.

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