'Male sterilisation' - vasectomy

This is a simple and reliable method of contraception. It is usually considered permanent, although in some cases the procedure can be reversed - for example, if the male decides to have children later on in life.

Sperm is prevented from reaching the semen ejaculated from a man's penis during sex. It is a quick and relatively painless surgical procedure, usually carried out under local anaesthetic.

In most cases, you will be able to return home the same day as your procedure.

A vasectomy has no effect on sex drive or ability to enjoy sex. You will still have erections and ejaculate normally. The only difference is that your semen will not contain sperm.

You can talk to your GP to find out more about how to get a vasectomy.

Female sterilisation

Female sterilisation is an effective and permanent form of contraception.

The operation usually involves cutting or blocking the fallopian tubes, which eggs travel through from the ovaries to the womb. This prevents the eggs from reaching the sperm and becoming fertilised.

Every year, thousands of UK couples choose sterilisation as their method of contraception.

Almost any woman can be sterilised. However, sterilisation should only be considered by women who do not want any more children, or do not want children at all.

Once you are sterilised, it is very difficult to reverse the process so it is important to consider the other options available. Sterilisation reversal is not usually available on the NHS.

You can talk to your GP about sterilisation and how to arrange it.