Your GP will strongly recommend counselling before referring you for sterilisation. Ideally, this should be with you and your partner if appropriate and acceptable. If possible, you should both agree to the procedure, but it is not a legal requirement to get your partner’s permission.
Counselling will give you a chance to talk about the operation in detail, and talk about any doubts, worries or questions that you might have.
Your GP does have the right to refuse to carry out the procedure or refuse to refer you for the procedure if they do not believe that it is in your best interests. If this is the case, you may have to pay to have a sterilisation privately.
If you decide to be sterilised, your GP will usually refer you to a specialist for treatment. This will usually be a gynaecologist at your nearest NHS hospital. A gynaecologist is a specialist in the female reproductive system.
If you choose to have a sterilisation, you will be asked to use contraception until the day of the operation, and to continue using it:
- until your next period if you are having your fallopian tubes blocked (tubal occlusion)
- for around three months if you are having fallopian implants (hysteroscopic sterilisation)
Sterilisation can be performed at any stage in your menstrual cycle.
Before you have the operation, you will be given a pregnancy test to make sure that you are not pregnant. It is vital to know this because once the surgeon blocks your fallopian tubes, there is a high risk that any pregnancy will become ectopic (when the fertilised egg grows outside the womb, usually in the fallopian tubes). An ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening because it can cause severe internal bleeding.