About female sterilisation

Female sterilisation is a permanent method of contraception that stops eggs and the sperm from meeting. It’s suitable for people who are sure they never want children or do not want more children. It’s more than 99% effective.

How it works

Female sterilisation stops eggs from travelling down the tubes that go from the ovary to the womb (fallopian tubes). This is normally done by blocking or sealing the tubes.

How it is done

Female sterilisation is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, but can be carried out under local anaesthetic depending on the technique used. The surgery involves blocking or sealing the fallopian tubes. It can be a fairly minor operation, with many women returning home the same day.

Who can have it done

Almost any woman can be sterilised. However, you must be sure that you do not want any more children, or do not want children at all. It is very difficult to reverse sterilisation and this is not usually available on the NHS.


There are many advantages to female sterilisation:

  • Permanent solution to contraception
  • Rarely any long-term effects on your sexual health
  • Will not affect your sex drive or hormone levels


It’s also worth bearing in mind that female sterilisation:

  • Does not protect you against STIs, so you may still need to use a condom
  • Very difficult to reverse and reversals are rarely funded by the NHS
  • May cause pain and bleeding after the operation

Depending on the surgical method, there is also a small risk of:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Infection or damage to other organs
  • Sterilisation not working. If this happens and you have a light or delayed period and think you might be pregnant, you must get advice straight away. There is an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy (fertilised egg growing outside the womb) after sterilisation

Where to get it done

You should first talk to your GP if you are considering female sterilisation.

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