At some point in your life if you decide you don’t want to have children at all, you should know the options you have. The best way to ensure you don’t accidentally conceive is by opting for permanent contraceptives. These are one of the most commonly used measures of birth control among women who are aware of them. However, there is a vast majority of women who don’t know their options for permanent contraceptives and hence, can’t make use of them. In fact, it is believed this group of women hasn’t even bothered to ever broach the topic with their OB/GYN.
Why Choose Permanent Birth Control Measures
While there are many different reasons for choosing permanent contraceptives, one of the main benefits is not having to worry about getting pregnant by accident. Other reasons for opting for permanent birth control is having sexual intercourse when and where women want and not opting for hormones. Furthermore, these permanent measures of birth control offer a lot of convenience and peace of mind to the woman.
Surveys conducted in the United States show most women consider permanent contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancy. These contraceptive are 98 to 99.8% effective and tend to be more reliable compared to temporary birth control measures, such as female condoms and diaphragms.
Are You Ready for Permanent Birth Control?
Whether you are ready or not for this type of birth control depends heavily on the circumstances of your life. In case you want to assess your readiness, here are some questions you should ask yourself.
- Are you certain you don’t want children?
- Have you and your partner spoken about not to have kids in the future?
- Are you satisfied with your current birth control and do you think it is effective?
- Does an unplanned pregnancy constantly worry you?
- Do you think permanent contraceptive is right for you?
- Do you have a health issue that can adversely affect your pregnancy?
- Are you looking for a birth control measure that you never have to worry about failing?
- Are you uncomfortable using hormone-based birth control?
Before you decide on a permanent birth control measure, it is best to consult your OB/GYN first and figure out all the available options. Then if you think permanent contraceptives are the way forward, you should go for it. Remember, this method will prevent you from ever having kids; and once you embark on this path, there is no turning back.
How Do You Know You Are Done Having Kids?
You would have to take into consideration several factors to decide whether you are done having kids. Typically, age is one of the most crucial and deciding factors. So, if you are close to 40 and feel you don’t want to risk having a child, permanent contraceptive could be the way forward.
Other factors that come into play include your financial situation and whether you have already had the number of kids you had planned on having.
It has been observed a large percentage of women actually feel relieved after deciding to opt for permanent birth control. But a small percentage has regrets later on when the circumstances in their lives change. Hence, it is important that you take this life altering decision carefully, so that you don’t regret it later on.
If you are young, have just got divorced, are in unstable relationship or marriage or right after the birth of your last child, it is best to wait before you decide on permanent contraceptives. Under such circumstances, it is best to wait for a few months, as your situation may change and you could have a change of heart.
In case you still find it difficult to make up your mind about permanent birth control, it is advisable to go for counseling. This way, your doubts and concerns will be correctly addressed. A professional counselor will help you put things in the right perspective and this will help you make an informed decision. You can go for counseling on your own or have your partner accompany you.
Types of Permanent Birth Control
Once you have decided to opt for permanent birth control, it is important to understand the types. There are surgical and non-surgical options available for both men and women. You most probably already know about getting your tube tied and vasectomy. But there are other options as well.
Permanent Birth Control for Women: When it comes to women, permanent contraceptives involve closing the fallopian tubes, so that the egg cannot make its way from the ovary to the uterus. Closing of the fallopian tubes can be done in two ways, which are as follows:
- Fallopian Tube Occlusion: This is a non-surgical method to block the fallopian tubes. In this procedure, a small insert is introduced into the fallopian tubes. It is done in a doctor’s clinic without putting you under general anesthesia. However, at times, local anesthesia may be used based on your threshold for pain and how the procedure is performed. After the insert is introduced, there is a 3-month waiting period for a wall to form around the insert. During this period, you will have to use some other form of contraception to avert unplanned pregnancy.
- Tubal Ligation: Commonly referred to as getting your tubes tied, tubal ligation is a surgical procedure wherein the fallopian tubes are closed by cutting, burning or clipping them. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. You will not have a huge incision site, as nowadays tubal ligation is done laparoscopically and the size of the incision will be small and hardly noticeable.
Whether you opt for surgical or non-surgical permanent birth control, it is important to note it will not affect your menstrual periods or sexuality. You will still menstruate every month and will still have sexual urges. In fact, even your ovaries will produce eggs, but instead of traveling to the uterus to get fertilized by the sperm, the eggs will be absorbed by the body.
Permanent Birth Control for Men: The only procedure available for men is vasectomy. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia in the doctor’s clinic. The scrotum is numbed using an appropriate anesthesia and then a small incision is made to allow the doctor access to the vas deferens. These are the tubes that transport semen from the testicles into the penis for ejaculation. Depending on what you have decided in consultation with the doctor, the vas deferens are cut, tied or sealed.
Vasectomy does not pose any erection or ejaculation problems. After the procedure, you will have slight inflammation and discomfort at the incision site, but once it subsides, you will be able to have normal sexual intercourse. The only difference will be the fluid during ejaculation will not contain any sperm. However, you should continue using a backup birth control measure until the doctor checks the fluid and ensures there are no sperm cells present in it.
The Bottom Line
Opting for any of the aforementioned permanent contraceptive measures is a life-altering decision. You should take this decision after proper consideration. While most women who have decided to opt for permanent birth control don’t feel regret, discuss the situation with your partner carefully, weighing the pros and cons. Then either you or your partner can opt for the procedure.