The Big Debate: Tubes Tied or Get Snipped?

| Women's Health

Sick of condoms, hormonal birth control pills, UIDS and all the other hassles that come with keeping up with your birth control — like wondering if it worked? Permanent birth control options exist, for both you and your guy. You should talk with your doctor over the pros and cons of each procedure before you and your partner jump to a big decision.

couple arguing

FOR HIM: VASECTOMY

What is it? This method blocks sperm from entering the semen. The procedure is simple, safe and has a 99 percent success rate. That means only 1 in 100 men who had undergone a vasectomy got a woman pregnant. Not bad odds! Men choose this option because it is quick, nearly painless and easier on their partner.

What does a vasectomy look like? The procedure takes under 30 minutes. The doctor will numb the scrotum to stop any pain, make a small incision and then block or remove the vas deferens, a tube that carries sperm to the semen. That's it!

Can it be reversed? Yes, though there's no 100 percent guarantee that your fertility will be restored. However, many men have had their vasectomies reversed and fathered children.

Does it hurt? The procedure isn't very invasive, and the numbing medication or sedatives will make the whole ordeal quick and painless. The worst men have reported feeling was brief discomfort when the vas deferens was removed.

How long does it take to recover? For most men, they can recover over the weekend and be back to work on Monday. However, the sperm doesn't completely clear out of your system for up to three months, so an alternate form of birth control should be used until then.

Is it expensive? Nope! A vasectomy costs anywhere from $0 to $1,000, which sounds pretty affordable compared to the cost of an unexpected child.

FOR HER: BILATERAL TUBAL LIGATION

What is it? You might recognize this procedure by its more popular name:"getting your tubes tied." It's the most common form of birth control for married couples. Your partner's sperm will no longer be able to reach your eggs, blocking pregnancy for good. Women often choose this method because of the negative effects they experienced with hormonal birth controls and find this to be the healthier option.

What does Bilateral Tubal Ligation look like? This surgical procedure blocks the fallopian tubes, which prevents eggs from being fertilized. Women undergo general anesthesia, allowing the doctor to make three incisions: one in the belly button, two in the lower abdomen. The doctor will need to pump gas into the abdomen to allow the physician to view the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. Part of the tubes will be cut and removed, and the ends will be burned or cauterized, blocking sperm from meeting with the eggs. Some women find it convenient to have the procedure done directly after giving birth.

Can it be reversed? Yes and no! Those cauterized tubes can't be easily "un-burned," and if you choose to reverse the original surgery it can be very expensive, and your insurance will rarely cover the cost. This is a pretty permanent decision, and should be thought out carefully.

How long does it take to recover? The patient is moved to a recovery room until the anesthesia wears off. Generally, women will be able to go home the same day as the surgery. Pain medications are prescribed for up to a week after the procedure, but women report the recovery process taking up to two weeks or longer. Women should avoid all sex and exercising until cleared by the doctor.

Is it expensive? It can cost anywhere between $0 and $6,000 depending on your insurance provider.

tubal ligation

Choosing between procedures is an common disagreement between couples seeking permanent birth control: Vasectomy vs. Tubes Tied. What do you think is the better option?