Fertility talks are no laughing matter. Children are a genuine blessing, as I can tell you personally, but family planning decisions are very personal and should always involve family doctors.
When it comes to surgical procedures to prevent pregnancy, there are many options for couples. The most common are vasectomies and tubal ligations. Having a vasectomy is an outpatient procedure completed with local anesthesia. Tubal ligation is usually done with general anesthesia and requires an overnight stay in a hospital. Very often, women will get the tubal ligation surgery after giving birth, particularly after a c-section.
Here in Canada, we’re one of the only developed nations where the vasectomy rate in men outnumbers the rate of tubal ligation in women. According to a 2015 UN health report, roughly 11% of women have experienced tubal ligation and nearly 21% of men have had vasectomies. Those numbers are reversed in the US, and they stay the same except for in Alaska, for whatever reason. Maybe like us in Canada, the cold weather makes Alaskans less interested in having children. Some men believe that getting a vasectomy is a relief to their partners, considering everything women go through in childbirth. The widely circulated stories about birth control issues are another reason that some husbands decide to get a vasectomy.
Most women you’ll talk to can give you a variation of a birth control gone wrong story. Plenty of women all over Canada have depended on the Plan B pill, which many have fought to make easier to access in Canadian drug stores. That sometimes leads to the desire to get the tubal ligation procedure, which is a virtually flawless plan for preventing pregnancy.
Tubal ligation is much more common in some countries than others. While about 1 in 10 Canadian women and 1 in 5 American women have had tubal ligation surgery, those rates can be higher or lower in other countries around the world. In Greece, 5.8% of women have had the procedure. In China, that number goes up to 28.7% and in the Domincan Republic, the number soars to 47.4%.
Tubal ligation may be what’s best for some families. However, for lots of women & birth-givers, things change. A relationship may change, aging may change a woman’s desire to have a baby, and in even more tragic circumstances, the loss of a child may affect a woman or a couple’s desire to have more children. More good news tells us that pregnancy & childbirth rates after tubal reversal are even better than those with IVF. Of course, many other risk factors can help determine if tubal reversal is a good choice for women seeking to get pregnant.
While tubal ligation rates are low in Canada, many of our US readers might have questions about where to go for tubal reversal. Regardless of your location, you would be well-served to talk to Dr. Joseph Hazan, MD.
Tubal reversal surgery, like any birth control procedure, must be something that couples talk about. This surgery is rarely performed compared to other procedures, but couples have to communicate and research it carefully.