Female sterilisation prevents pregnancy by cutting, sealing or blocking the tubes that allow eggs to pass from a woman's ovaries into her womb. It requires a small surgical operation under general anaesthetic and is permanent.
Sterilisation offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections.
Sterilisation is permanent and should only be considered by women who are sure they don’t want children in the future.
It can sometimes be reversed, but the success rate is much smaller, with only 50-80% of fertility returning, depending on age and which sterilisation methods were used. Sterilisation reversal is not usually available on the NHS.
There's an overall lifetime failure rate of about one in 200. This means that one out of every 200 women using sterilisation as contraception will get pregnant during the rest of her lifetime.