Knowing when you're ready to start a family or add another child to your family is a big decision that's not often taken lightly. Patients consider their health, lifestyle, finances, and a host of other factors when making one of the biggest decisions of their lives. Just as critical is the decision that your family is complete and that you will never again want to be pregnant.
When a patient decides she's done having children, she often looks for a birth control method that she can simply forget about. Some methods of birth control, such as the IUD, can offer this convenience with the ability to remove the device if a patient should change her mind. On the other hand, some patients prefer a permanent form of birth control.
When a couple is sure that they do not want a future pregnancy, they have several options for surgical sterilization. The man can choose to have a vasectomy or the woman can choose to have a tubal ligation surgery or an in-office procedure that uses tiny devises inserted into the fallopian tubes to permanently block them. While nearly three times as many women opt for surgical sterilization, there are several questions to ask before making the decision. Dr. Taryll Jenkins, who helps women of all ages and stages of life with their family planning needs, offers the following points of discussion for his patients before they make such a big decision.
- Would I ever want to have kids again? It's important to think about the unthinkable and consider if there are any lifestyle changes that might make you want a baby in the future. A job change, a change in your financial stability, loss of a child, or a new partner or spouse in your life are all examples of lifestyle changes that could make you regret your permanent decision. Permanent sterilization is just that, permanent. Trying to reverse the procedure can be dangerous, costly, and it may not work.
- Could something go wrong? Women are more likely to have side effects related to a tubal surgery than men who have a vasectomy. However, in some cases, it may still make more sense for the woman to have her tubes tied. For example, if she is undergoing a planned c-section, a woman may elect to have her tubes tied at the same time.
- How soon does it start working? It's important to note that tubal ligation begins immediately, while a vasectomy can take several months to be sure that pregnancy won't occur. If you and your partner or spouse opt for vasectomy, be sure to use a back up method until you've been given the green light from the doctor.
Permanent birth control is a big decision. For more information about any of the surgical sterilization methods, call Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jenkins.
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