How does sterilisation work?

Sterilisation usually involves placing a metal clip, made from titanium, on each fallopian tube. This closes them completely and stops sperm from reaching an egg after ovulation.

The unfertilised egg is absorbed back into the body and doesn’t cause any harm. 85% of sterilisations are done this way, usually using one specific type of clip called the Filshie clip.

Other methods of sterilisation 

There are other methods of sterilisation or additional procedures that can be done at the same time as applying the clips. For example, when your surgeon can also remove a section of the fallopian tubes.

If you do decide to have this procedure the surgeon should explain exactly what method they will use.

Following the operation

Usually, you can go home the same day after your operation. Around 3-4 hours after the procedure, you’ll be assessed to see if you’re ok to go home.

General anaesthetic can make you drowsy for up to 24 hours after an operation so you’ll need another adult to accompany you home from the hospital.

As it’s illegal to drive for 24 hours after a general anaesthetic, you’ll need to organise a taxi or someone to drive you home.


Most people take 2 to 3 days off work after the operation to be sure they’ve fully recovered from the general anaesthetic.
The 2 small cuts on your abdomen will be held closed by stitches. These are usually dissolvable and will disappear during the 2 weeks after your operation as the wound heals.

You must keep the cuts clean by having a bath or shower every day. Be sure to dry them carefully each time.

How quickly is it effective?

You’ll need to use an additional method of contraception until your next period after the operation. This is because you may have already ovulated.

If you’re on the pill you could finish the packet or use condoms until your next period.

If you had an IUD in place, it would have been removed at the same time as the operation. In this case, you should use condoms until your next period after the procedure.

Everything you wanted to know about sexual health and wellbeing - your questions answered by our expert team.