Can I get my tubes tied?
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Dear Dr Mitchell,

Do I need to give birth to qualify for having my tubes tied? Or can I just request it? I am 10000000000 per cent sure that I do not want children, and at 33 would like this permanent method of birth control.

Tubal ligation is a permanent method of contraception that is usually recommended for women who are absolutely certain that having another baby will definitely not be an option. If you have not had any children and you do not wish to have any in the future then it is usually recommended that you use one of the long-term options that are reversible in the event that your circumstances change.

At age 33 years you still have several years ahead where you can become pregnant, if you choose to at a later date. We have seen many similar circumstances where a young woman insists that having a baby is not an option and then the situation changes in terms of the relationship or just her own personal desires and then there is a lot of regret and associated depression.

In some cases reversal of the tubal ligation is done but the risk of an ectopic pregnancy is very high. This is a condition where the embryo lodges in the Fallopian tube and this can subsequently rupture and cause internal bleeding, and sometimes death. Some women who have made the decision to do tubal ligation and then subsequently regret the decision have opted to do invitro-fertilisation (IVF) to achieve a successful pregnancy. This is usually an expensive undertaking.

You can actually put in an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) which can be left for up to 10 years. This can be easily replaced at the end of the 10 years and will then take you into menopause when you will no longer need contraception. This allows you the option to have a baby if you have a change of heart over the next several years.

If you are absolutely sure that this is what you want then once you sign a consent form and agree to the procedure then the tubal ligation will be done. However, no method of contraception has a 100 per cent success rate and there is an inherent failure rate even though it is low.

Consult your doctor and have an open discussion with your current partner to ensure that you are making the decision that is in your best interest. If there is any doubt then consider using the long-term reversible method in the form of the IUCD.

Best regards.

Dr Sharmaine Mitchell is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Send questions via e-mail to; write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5 or fax to 876-968-2025. All responses are published. Dr Mitchell cannot provide personal responses.


The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to medical advice or treatment from your own doctor.

Dr Sharmaine Mitchell

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