The condom and the pill aren't your only options

Long-Acting Contraception
Short-Acting Contraception
Emergency Contraception
Other Options

What is it?

Sterilisation is a permanent way of preventing pregnancy. It involves having an operation. There are 2 forms of sterilization for one men and one for women.

Female sterilisation is called tubal ligation.  It is a surgical procedure to cut or block the fallopian tubes (which carry the eggs from the ovary to the womb) so that the sperm cannot meet the egg. This operation will affect your fertility potential (ability to get pregnant in the future).

Male sterilization is also known as a vasectomy.  It is a surgical procedure to cut the ducts that carry sperm so that, while a man can still ejaculate, there is no sperm present. The operation, which can be carried out under local anaesthetic, affects a man’s fertility potential.

How reliable is it?

Sterilisation is more than 99% effective meaning that less than one woman in every 100 who uses this as a form of contraception will get pregnant in a year.1

Sterilisation is a permanent form of contraception so “perfect use” is the same as “typical use”

Typical use

99% 1



  • It is a permanent method of birth control so you should never have to think about contraception ever again
  • There are no hormones involved so you will not experience hormone type side effects
  • It does not have an effect on your libido (sex drive) or your ability to have sex


  • It is a permanent method of contraception so only suitable if you do not want to have children or have finished your family. Although there is a chance to reverse it, the procedure is complicated and rarely successful.
  • After a vasectomy sperm is still present in the male genital organs, with 2 or more semen analyses required to check when the sperm has cleared. This usually takes place approximately 16-18 weeks after the operation so it is important to use other contraceptive methods during this time.
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections

Where can I get it?

You should talk to your GP or local Family Planning Clinic or Well Woman Clinic.  They will best be able to direct you to where this service is available; they might put you in contact with a hospital or an outpatient clinic. Some Family Planning Clinics and Well Woman Clinics may offer this service.


1. Trussell J. Contraceptive failure in the United States. Contraception 83 (2011) 397–404.