Tubal ligation and tubal implants
Often referred to as “having your tubes tied,” tubal ligation is a permanent surgical procedure in which someone’s fallopian tubes are blocked or closed. The surgery takes the form or a laparoscopy (where small instruments are inserted through minor incisions smaller than 1 cm) or through a minor incision in the abdomen. Depending on the preferred method, it might involve general anesthetic (being asleep), or a local or spinal anesthetic (epidural).
The only implant that was available in Canada was the ESSURE. The manufacturer has taken ESSURE off the market in 2017 after some experienced perforation and auto-immune responses. Health Canada had issued a warning in 2016. The following section is for informational purpose only as this option is not available in Canada.
Tubal implants are small metal springs that are placed in each fallopian tube in a nonsurgical procedure, through a small thin tube placed through the cervix and into each fallopian tube. Over time, scar tissue grows around each implant and permanently blocks the tubes. Both procedures stop eggs from traveling from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes, where the egg is normally fertilized by a sperm. Tubal ligation and tubal implants are both considered permanent methods of birth control. These procedures are done by trained medical professionals.
Pros: Both of these methods are highly effective and considered to be permanent procedures.
Cons: The procedures cannot be reversed if you change your mind afterwards. Tubal ligation or implants do not protect against STIs. While major complications of tubal ligation aren’t common, minor complications include infection and inflammation. For tubal implants, there are rare reports of implants causing pelvic pain that doesn’t go away and. in these cases, the implants are removed. There is a risk of pelvic infection. In both cases, if the procedures fail and you do get pregnant, there is a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy.
You should know: An ectopic pregnancy is a complication of pregnancy in which the embryo implants outside the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies are not viable, and these pregnancies are dangerous for the person who is pregnant because it can rupture the fallopian tube and cause internal bleeding that can be life threatening. Most ectopic pregnancies happen in the Fallopian tube (so-called tubal pregnancies), but implantation can also occur in the cervix, ovaries and abdomen. An ectopic pregnancy is a potential medical emergency, and, if not treated properly, can be fatal.
Effectiveness: Tubal ligation is 99.5% effective.
A vasectomy is a permanent, minor surgical procedure where the vas deferens (the tubes that carry the sperm away from the testicles) are closed or blocked. If you are certain you do not want children, vasectomy is a good option for birth control. It’s done in a doctor’s office under a local anesthetic, meaning the area being worked on is frozen but you are awake for the procedure. The procedure takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
Pros: A vasectomy is 99.9% effective. This is a permanent procedure with no lasting side effects and few complications. A vasectomy means that no birth control routine (e.g. taking a pill) is required, and it allows a person with a penis to take responsibility for birth control.
Cons: There is no guarantee that the procedure can be reversed, and vasectomies can be difficult and expense to reverse. There are possible short-term side effects that can include: temporary bruising, swelling and tenderness of the scrotum, or possible infection. A vasectomy does not protect against STIs. This procedure needs to be performed by a medical professional.
Effectiveness: A vasectomy is 99.9% effective.