If you're sure that you don't want to be pregnant — or father a child — at any point in the future, you may consider sterilization.

For men, vasectomy is the only option for sterilization. During this straightforward surgery, the tubes that carry sperm into the semen are cut and sealed. After a successful vasectomy, a man isn't able to father a child.

Women may be able to choose from a few sterilization options, including tubal ligation — a surgical procedure — and the Essure system, which permanently blocks the fallopian tubes.

Sterilization is an effective method of birth control. The decision to pursue sterilization must be taken seriously, however. Although reversal is sometimes possible after vasectomy or tubal ligation, sterilization of any type is considered permanent.

Dec. 16, 2014