Sterilization, by a method known as tubal ligation, is a means of contraception for women who do not want any more children or for whom pregnancy would be harmful. The operation can be performed through two small incisions in the abdomen (laparoscopic sterilization) or a single incision in the pubic area (minilaparotomy). The operation seals the fallopian tubes, usually by using clips or by cutting and tying them, so that sperm cannot travel through the tubes to fertilize eggs. Although considered permanent, female sterilization has a failure rate of about 3 in 1,000.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.