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Tubal Occlusion (Female Sterilisation)

Tubal occlusion is a permanent method of contraception that stops the fallopian tubes receiving an egg through an operation. It is only suitable for those who never want children or who don’t want more children.

Quick guide


No hormones


No effect on mood


No protection against STIs


Invisible apart from temporary stitches


Periods will stay the same

Lasts for

Permanent – very difficult to reverse


Skin will stay the same

Preventing pregnancy

More than 99% effective

Starting on this method

Requires more than one consultation with a healthcare professional before you may be able to have the procedure. You will need to use other contraception until your next period.

Doctors tend to advise against tubal occlusion if you are under 30.
Tubal occlusions are difficult to reverse so you need to be sure you don’t want children or any more children

How tubal occlusion works

Tubal occlusion is a permanent form of contraception which involves an operation to cut, seal or block the fallopian tubes which carry an egg from the ovary to the uterus (womb). The body still releases an egg but this will be absorbed naturally.

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Pros & cons


  • Over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy
  • Once working you won’t have to think about contraception again 


  • The tubes can rejoin meaning that you will be fertile again but this is rare
  • Not easily reversed and reversals are rarely funded on the NHS 
  • No protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Contraception is needed need until the sterilisation has been confirmed as working
  • Small risk of complications during the procedure 
  • Feeling unwell is common following an operation and may need to take a few days off to recover

Periods and tubal occlusion

The ovaries, uterus and cervix are left in place and so your hormones are not affected by sterilisation. You will still ovulate and an egg is released but it is absorbed naturally by your body. Your periods will continue to be as regular as they were before.
Sometimes some women find their periods become heavier. This is normally because they have stopped using hormonal contraception which may have made their periods lighter.

How to get tubal occlusion

If this is something you are considering, you may want to find out about types of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) which are very effective methods and are reversible. They are the contraceptive implant, contraceptive injection, intrauterine device (IUD) and the intrauterine system (IUS).

You can get information and advice on sterilisation from your GP surgery or contraception and sexual health clinics.

You may have to receive additional counselling to make sure that you are 100% certain you want to be sterilised.

Depending on your circumstances and age, you may not be able to be sterilised on the NHS. Similarly, in some areas, NHS waiting lists for sterilisation can be quite long. You can pay to have a sterilisation done privately although this is expensive.

Contraception and sexual health services such as Brook are free and confidential, including for people under the age of 16. Health professionals work to strict guidelines and won’t tell anyone else about your visit unless they believe you’re at serious risk of immediate harm. Find out more about Brook’s confidentiality policy.

During the procedure

Tubal occlusion

The surgeon will make a small cut either near your belly button or just above your pubic hairline. They will then insert a small camera and assess how best to block your fallopian tubes. this may be by:

  • Applying clips – plastic or titanium clamps are closed over the fallopian tubes
  • Applying rings – a small loop of the fallopian tube is pulled through a silicone ring, then clamped shut
  • Tying, cutting and removing a small piece of the fallopian tubes

This is a relatively minor operation and many people can return home the same day


If blocking the fallopian tubes (tubal occlusion) has not worked, the tubes may be completely removed.

When to get tubal occlusion

Tubal occlusion is meant to be permanent.

It cannot easily be reversed and reversal operations are not always successful. Reversals are rarely funded on the NHS and they can be difficult (and expensive) to get privately.

Hysteroscopic sterilisation (also known as Essure) which is a type of female sterilisation, cannot be reversed.

You should use additional contraception until your first period.

After pregnancy

You can become pregnant from as little as three weeks after giving birth and from two weeks after an abortion or miscarriage
You may be able to have the procedure straight away after pregnancy, miscarriage and abortion- speak to a medical professional for advice.


Will it affect my sex drive (libido)?

Sterilisation does not affect your hormones. You will continue to go through the same menstrual cycle as before. This means you’re sex drive will be the same as before the procedure.

Can I get it reversed?

Reversing sterilisation is difficult and is often not free on the NHS so you need to make sure you don’t want children in the future before you get the procedure.

My and my partner don’t want children. Are vasectomies or tubal occlusions easier?

Vasectomies are simpler and safer compared to tubal occlusions. While both are just as effective at preventing pregnancy and are very safe procedures, vasectomies are less intrusive and can be done under local anaesthetic unlike tubal occlusions which require general anaesthetic.

More FAQs about contraception

Unsure which contraception method is best for you?
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    Myths about long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)


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    Contraceptive Injection


    The Hormonal Coil


    Contraceptive Implant: Nexplanon Implant

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