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What is Sterilization? - Definition, Methods & Types

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  • 0:01 What Is Sterilization?
  • 0:16 Methods of Sterilization
  • 0:39 Sterilization…
  • 1:21 Sterilization…
  • 3:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Brekke Peterson Munks
Have you ever heard the term sterilization? It refers to a medical procedure that prevents pregnancy. In this lesson, you'll learn the definition, methods, and different types of sterilization.

What is Sterilization?

Did you know that there are permanent birth control methods? These methods are called sterilization. Sterilization is a permanent procedure to prevent pregnancy. This procedure is done by a healthcare provider in a controlled environment.

Methods of Sterilization

There are multiple methods of sterilization available to both men and women. Sterilization is up to the discretion of the individual. Men may decide to become sterile at any point they do not want the ability to impregnate a woman. Women may decide to become sterile at any point so long as they are not currently pregnant, in which case, they may have the procedure performed at any time after the child is born.

Sterilization Procedures for Men

The process which prevents a man from impregnating a woman is called a vasectomy. A vasectomy is a permanent birth control method for males, which is safe, quick, and relatively easy on the patient. In an outpatient procedure, the tube that moves the sperm to the testicles, the vas tubes, is blocked so sperm is no longer present in ejaculate fluid. Men do not become instantly infertile after the procedure is performed. A waiting period of two to four months and confirmation in a follow-up visit to their healthcare professional will ensure he is completely sterile. This procedure is meant to be reversible. This type of sterilization is almost 100% effective.

Sterilization Procedures for Women

There are three methods of sterilization in women: through tubal ligation, tubal implants, or a hysterectomy.

A tubal ligation prevents a woman from becoming pregnant by cutting and tying the fallopian tubes to prevent ovulation of an egg. This process typically occurs after child birth but can easily be done before conception by a doctor. The common term is 'having their tubes tied.' This process can be reversed but might not ensure the ability to have children. Tubal ligation is major surgery but is safe, has been a form of sterilization since 1930, and is 99.5% effective. The procedure is done by cutting, cauterizing/burning, or banding the fallopian tubes. Tubal ligation is permanent.

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