Sterilization of women is one of the safest methods of contraception. It is even safer than taking the anti-baby pill. However, the procedure should be well considered, as it is difficult to reverse. In addition, the operation, which takes place under general anesthesia, can lead to side effects such as an injury to the peritoneal ligaments. In general, the procedure is much more complicated than a sterilization in a man - this involves almost no risks. Learn more about here Expiration, risks and costs of a sterilization of the woman.
Sterilization is an intervention that causes artificial infertility. Thus, the OP should be considered as a method of contraception. Sterilization of the woman is also referred to as tube sterilization. In the case of a man one speaks of a vasectomy.
Women continue to ovulate after sterilization as usual. The egg no longer wanders through the fallopian tube in the direction of the uterus but into the abdominal cavity. There it is broken down by the body. Sterilization is considered a very safe method of contraception. Statistically, only 1 in 1,000 women become pregnant after the procedure (Pearl Index: 0.1). This makes the method even safer than contraception with the anti-baby pill. This has a Pearl Index of 0.1 to 0.9.
Hormone production, the menstrual cycle and the sex drive are not affected by successful surgery. Some women feel even more desire for sex after the operation, because they are no longer afraid of an unwanted pregnancy. Others suffer from the fact of being infertile. That's why it's important to have enough time to make the decision.
Procedure of sterilization
The sterilization of the woman is in contrast to the vasectomy in men under general anesthesia and takes about 60 minutes. This procedure also involves the typical risks of general anesthesia, such as disorders of the cardiovascular system, respiratory problems, hoarseness and sore throat, as well as nausea and vomiting. The surgery can be performed either on an outpatient or inpatient basis.
The procedure is often performed by means of a laparoscopy, less often by a belly cut. Sterilization itself also differentiates between different methods. Most of the fallopian tubes are closed by a plastic or metal clip (clip method) or by heat (thermocoagulation). In some cases, a section of the fallopian tubes is additionally severed.
A relatively new process is the Essure method, for which no general anesthesia and no surgery are necessary. As part of a uterine reflection soft microspirals are used in the fallopian tubes. The spirals stimulate the growth of connective tissue, making it impossible for the fallopian tubes to close at the earliest after three months. Whether a secure contraceptive protection already exists can be determined by an x-ray examination.
Sterilization of the woman: side effects and complications
While sterilization in men has few risks and hardly any side effects, women can experience significantly more complications - including the following:
- stronger, irregular period
- ectopic pregnancies
- Damage to the peritoneum bands
Damage to the peritoneum may result in underprovision of the ovaries. In turn, it is possible that premature menopause occurs.
Every woman should think twice about whether she really wants to be sterilized or not. It is difficult to reverse the procedure, which is much more difficult than for men. Since sterilization in women also involves more risks, the procedure should only be performed if it is really necessary and useful.
In general, certain methods make it easier to undo sterilization than others. For this reason, it is imperative that you consult your doctor on the subject before the surgery. The procedure - called refertilization - removes the scarred areas on the ovaries and then sews the ends together again. Since this requires a great deal of experience, the operation is only offered by specialized doctors.
Refertilization not always successful
Even if the refertilization is successful, the likelihood of getting pregnant is less than before sterilization. Depending on the method used, between 30 and 75 percent of affected women become pregnant again. However, the risk of an ectopic pregnancy is increased after the procedure. If there is a wish for a child despite sterilization, artificial insemination is sometimes preferred instead of refertilization.
Due to the far-reaching consequences, many doctors advise childless women to be sterilized only after the age of 35. Younger women may change their desire to have a baby after the age of 30. Statistics show that many women sterilized at a young age later regret this decision.
Does the health insurance cover the costs?
The costs for a sterilization of the woman are usually not taken over by the health insurance today. This is especially true if the intervention is performed only on the basis of personal life planning. Exceptions are tube sterilizations, which are medically necessary. Here the costs are borne by the health insurance. Even from private funds, the costs are usually only taken if the intervention is carried out for health reasons. The costs for sterilization are between 600 and 1,500 euros.
Medical reasons may be present, for example, if the birth of a child would be too dangerous for the woman due to her physique. Other health causes, such as dangerous hereditary diseases, which cause women to have children, are also accepted.