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Appendix K

Female and Male Sterilization

Tubal sterilization for women and vasectomy for men are permanent, safe, and highly effective methods of contraception. In general, no medical conditions would absolutely restrict a person's eligibility for sterilization (with the exception of known allergy or hypersensitivity to any materials used to complete the sterilization method). However, certain conditions place a woman at high surgical risk; in these cases, careful consideration should be given to the risks and benefits of other acceptable alternatives, including long-acting, highly effective, reversible methods and vasectomy. Female and male sterilization do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). If risk exists for STI/HIV (including during pregnancy or postpartum), the correct and consistent use of condoms is recommended, either alone or with another contraceptive method. Consistent and correct use of the male latex condom reduces the risk for STIs and HIV transmission.

Because these methods are intended to be irreversible, persons who choose sterilization should be certain that they want to prevent pregnancy permanently. Most persons who choose sterilization remain satisfied with their decision. However, a small proportion of women regret this decision (1%--26% from different studies, with higher rates of regret reported by women who were younger at sterilization) (1,2). Regret among men about vasectomy has been reported to be approximately 5% (3), similar to the proportion of women who report regretting their husbands' vasectomy (6%) (4). Therefore, all persons should be appropriately counseled about the permanency of sterilization and the availability of highly effective, reversible methods of contraception.


  1. Peterson HB. Sterilization. Obstet Gynecol 2008;111:189--203.
  2. Hillis SD, Marchbanks PA, Tylor LR, Peterson HB. Poststerilization regret: findings from the United States Collaborative Review of Sterilization. Obstet Gynecol 1999;93:889--95.
  3. Ehn BE, Liljestrand J. A long-term follow-up of 108 vasectomized men. Good counselling routines are important. Scand J Urol Nephrol 1995;29:477--81.
  4. Jamieson DJ, Kaufman SC, Costello C, et al. A comparison of women's regret after vasectomy versus tubal sterilization. Obstet Gynecol 2002;99:1073--9.

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