Information for Patients
Tubal ligation (getting your "tubes tied") is a type of surgery. It prevents a woman from getting pregnant. It is a permanent form of birth control, and is effective right away.
The surgery cuts, ties, or seals the fallopian tubes. This blocks the path between the ovaries and the uterus. The sperm cannot reach the egg to fertilize it, and the egg cannot reach the uterus. You get the surgery in a hospital or outpatient surgical center. It usually takes about 30 minutes. Almost all women go home the same day. They can return to most normal activities within a few days.
Tubal ligation can sometimes be reversed. The reversal is major surgery, and does not always work.
Vasectomy is a type of surgery that prevents a man from being able to get a woman pregnant. It is a permanent form of birth control.
A vasectomy works by cutting the tubes that carry the sperm out of the testicles. The surgery usually takes no more than 30 minutes. Most men go home the same day. In most cases, recovery takes less than a week. Having a vasectomy does not affect your sex life.
It takes about three months before it is effective. Your doctor will test your semen to make sure that there are no sperm in it.
Vasectomies can sometimes be reversed, but not always. Having a vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDS. Men who have had a vasectomy should still practice safe sex to avoid STDs.
NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development