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Sterilization: Resource Overview

Tubal sterilization, a permanent form of birth control for women, can be performed in three different ways: with a minilaparotomy, with laparoscopy, or with hysteroscopy. Postpartum tubal sterilization is performed after a vaginal or cesarean delivery. Ob-gyns, physicians whose primary responsibility is women’s health, play a leading role in performing tubal sterilizations.

Here are the key publications and resources for ob-gyns, other women’s health care providers, and patients from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other sources.

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Resources for Ob-Gyns and Women’s Health Care Providers
Resources for Women and Patients

Resources for Ob-Gyns and Women’s Health Care Providers

Committee Opinion: Access to Postpartum Sterilization

“Access to Postpartum Sterilization,” issued by ACOG in July 2012 (reaffirmed 2014), notes that postpartum tubal sterilization is one of the safest and most effective methods of contraception and calls on ob-gyns to identify and eliminate barriers to its use. The guideline recommends that postpartum sterilization be considered an urgent surgical procedure.

Practice Bulletin: Benefits and Risks of Sterilization (members only)

“Benefits and Risks of Sterilization,” issued by ACOG in February 2013, reviews the evidence for the safety and effectiveness of female sterilization in comparison with male sterilization and other forms of contraception. The evidence-based guideline notes that tubal occlusion by laproscopy is safe and effective for women, although vasectomy for men is safer, more effective, and less expensive.

Committee Opinion: Sterilization of Women Including Those With Mental Disabilities

“Sterilization of Women Including Those With Mental Disabilities,” issued by ACOG in July 2007 (reaffirmed 2009), discusses the ethical responsibilities of obstetrician-gynecologists in sterilization for women, including those with mental disabilities.

 


Resources for Women and Patients

Patient FAQ: Postpartum Sterilization

“Postpartum Sterilization,” issued by ACOG in May 2013, explains that postpartum sterilization is a permanent form of birth control that is performed right after the birth of a baby. For women who have had a vaginal delivery, a small incision is made in the abdomen, a procedure called minilaparotomy. For women who have had a cesarean delivery, sterilization can be done through the same incision that was made for the delivery of the baby.

Patient FAQ: Sterilization by Laproscopy

“Sterilization by Laproscopy,” issued by ACOG in May 2013, describes the risks and benefits of laparoscopic sterilization, a procedure in which an instrument called a laparoscope is inserted through a small incision in or near the navel and used to close off fallopian tubes by bands or clips.

Patient FAQ: Hysteroscopic Sterilization

“Hysteroscopic Sterilization,” issued by ACOG in January 2013, discusses the risks and benefits of hysteroscopic sterilization, a procedure in which a tiny implant is inserted into each fallopian tube without surgery. Scar tissue forms around the implant, blocking the fallopian tubes.

Patient FAQ: Sterilization for Women and Men

“Sterilization for Women and Men,” issued by ACOG in September 2015, explains that sterilization is a permanent form of birth control. For women, sterilization is called tubal sterilization. For men, the sterilization procedure is a vasectomy. 

 


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 57,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality women’s health care, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care.

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998