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J Fam Pract. 1982 Jan;14(1):27-30.

The choice of sterilization procedure among married couples.


Surgical sterilization is playing a growing role in contraception among married couples. Both vasectomy and tubal ligation can be done as outpatient procedures. Neither procedure has overwhelming advantages over the other. This study sought to determine why one member of a couple, rather than the other, decided to undergo the sterilization procedure. There do not seem to be any significant demographic differences between those couples who choose vasectomy and those who select tubal ligation. Men may undergo vasectomy because they feel it is the easier procedure. A significant number of women also feel that vasectomy is easier, yet for various reasons they are motivated to undergo tubal ligation. In many couples, the choice is made because one partner will not consider becoming sterilized, and this is twice as likely to be the husband. Family physicians can play an important role in assisting couples to choose the best alternative.


This study sought to determine why 1 member of a couple, rather than the other, decided to undergo sterilization. For a 2 month period, questionnaires were distributed to 86 married patients who attended the Wilmington Medical Center for outpatient vasectomy (29 patients) and laparascopic tubal ligation (57 patients). Vasectomy patients had a median age of 35 years whereas that of tubal ligation was 32 years. Both groups had a median number of 2 children. There were no significant demographic differences between those couples who chose vasectomy and those who selected tubal ligation. Spouses of tubal ligation patients were more likely to have strong feelings against having a sterilization procedure. 42% of tubal ligation patients stated that their husbands had refused to consider having a vasectomy while only 21% of vasectomy patients claimed that their wives had refused tubal ligation. 28% of men having had vasectomies were confident of the reversibility of the procedure. There were no differences between the 2 groups concerning what most influenced individual choices of steriliztion procedure.

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