Vasectomy vs. Tubal Ligation: Understanding the Difference

Do you want to explore permanent birth control options? Then learn the differences between vasectomy vs. tubal ligation surgery here.

Around 25% of American couples decide never to have kids. And for many others, they decide they’re done after a certain number.

No matter which category you fall into, you and your partner might be looking into permanent birth control options. In that case, you have the choice of a vasectomy vs. tubal ligation.

Not sure which one’s right for you? We’ll explain the differences below.

What Is a Tubal Ligation?

Tubal ligation is performed on women. It’s a surgical procedure that severs the fallopian tubes so that sperm can’t travel up and fertilize an egg.

There are several ways tubal ligations are performed. The doctor might clip, block, or completely remove the fallopian tubes.

What Is a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy is performed on men. The vasa deferentia (plural for “vas deferens”) is also cut to prevent sperm from leaving your body when you ejaculate.

The doctor might take a small piece out of each tube so there’s a gap.  They’ll then either sear or tie off each tube.

Vasectomy vs. Tubal Ligation: Differences

Both procedures are highly effective; at over 99.9%, vasectomies and tubal ligations are the most effective forms of birth control.

However, there are some significant differences that might sway you to or from them.

Risk and Recovery Time

The risk is lower with a vasectomy, as is the recovery time. This is because it’s a much less invasive process. The doctor only makes a small incision here, while with a tubal ligation, the woman has to go through minor surgery.

With tubal ligation, the woman has a longer recovery time and might feel ill due to the general anesthesia. There are also additional risks, such as post tubal ligation syndrome. Find more information here about this illness.


A vasectomy is cheaper. Because it doesn’t involve surgery, it takes up less time, equipment, and medications to perform.

If you have private health insurance, a vasectomy might be completely covered. At the most, you might have to pay a few hundred dollars. A tubal ligation, on the other hand, can cost around $4,500.


It’s true that both procedures are “permanent”. However, there’s a chance they can be reversed, in case you change your mind later on.

There are many factors that impact the success rate (such as age, type of procedure, etc.), but generally speaking, the success rate is higher for vasectomies.

Which Permanent Birth Control Method Will You Choose?

Now you know the pros and cons of getting a vasectomy vs. tubal ligation. Both have very high success rates and are considered permanent birth control options. However, a tubal ligation can be tougher on a woman’s body, and it has a lower chance of reversal if you’re concerned about changing your mind in the future.

For the best protection against pregnancy, it might be wise for both you and your partner to have permanent birth control procedures done.

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