A 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. Find out more about the procedure, risks and costs of female sterilization here.
Sterilization is an intervention that creates 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 male 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). Thus, the method is even safer than the contraception by means of 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 even feel a lot 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 give yourself enough time to make that decision.
Procedure of sterilization
The sterilization of the woman occurs in contrast to the vasectomy in men under general anesthesia and takes about 60 minutes. Thus, 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, also exist in this procedure. The surgery can be performed either on an outpatient or inpatient basis.
The procedure is often performed by means of a laparoscopy, more rarely by a belly cut. Sterilization itself also differentiates between different methods. Most of the fallopian tubes are closed by a plastic or metal clamp (clip method) or by heat (thermocoagulation). In some cases, a section of the fallopian tubes is additionally severed.
A relatively new procedure is the Essure method, which does not require general anesthesia or surgery. As part of a uterine mirroring soft micro-spirals 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. The procedure can only be reversed with difficulty - much heavier than with 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 operation. In the procedure - called Refertilization - the scarred areas on the ovaries are removed and then the ends sewn together again. As 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, after the procedure the risk for an ectopic pregnancy is increased. If there is a wish for children 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 who get sterilized at a young age later regret this decision.
Does the health insurance cover the costs?
The costs of a sterilization of women are usually no longer taken over by the health insurance. 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 a 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 are why women should not have children, are accepted.