Should I get my tubes tied?

Many women are sure that they are done having children and want to know if they should get sterilized. There are many sterilization procedures, and you can get sterilized right after delivery or the next day, at the time of a cesarean delivery, or a few weeks after delivery. Women can get their tubes tied through a small incision in their belly button right after delivery, or through a laparoscopic or vaginal procedure a few weeks after delivery.

Should you get your tubes tied? For most women, the answer is no. There are two things to think about.

  • First, sterilization procedures still have failure rates associated with them, and the failure rate for most sterilization methods is actually higher than the failure rates for the long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), like IUDs or the Nexplanon. So if your main goal is to do the best thing to not get pregnant, you might actually be better off not getting your tubes tied and instead getting a LARC.
  • Second, getting a LARC is much less risky and less costly than getting your tubes tied, plus most LARCs carry fringe-benefits, like better menstrual cycles. A simply 5 minute office procedure is definitely better than a day at the hospital and general anesthesia.

Another important issue to think about is how many children have you had and how old are you? Many women under 25, for example, might be convinced that they want no more children, but studies show that over time as many as 1 in 3 have serious regrets. So a 24 year old mother of two who gets her tubes tied and then decides at age 30 that she wants another child has very few good options, but if she had instead gotten a LARC, she would have had a lower failure rate, better menstrual cycles, and easy reversibility.