MOS: Tubal Ligation

Well, I’m back after a brief hiatus from having some plumbing yanked out.

May as well milk that shit for content.

Today’s Moment of Science… yeeterus deleeterus, or my yearlong journey of being asked “but are you sure” too goddamn many times.

The major role of the fallopian tubes in reproduction is that they connect the ovaries, and hence the march of those oh so important egg cells, to the uterus. The first time someone suggested “maybe no more tubes no more babies” was in the 1820s, but since they had 1820s technology women weren’t exactly lining up to try it out. For a while longer we were stuck with the 1820s birth control method of telling men “I have a headache.” 

Sterilization procedures were happening more regularly by the 1960s. However, it was typically reserved for when a pregnancy was likely to cause severe health issues. As women are legally considered people in most states now, it’s gotten moderately easier to access sterilization procedures, but only moderately. Stick a pin in that.

Beyond the hysterectomy, there are a number of ways to render oneself sterile. The old fashioned way is just waiting a while and eventually the tiny human factory decommissions itself. However, for someone impatient like me who’s absolutely, positively, a gagillion percent certain of never wanting to hatch a baby, there are several surgical options. 

This was news to me, because I’d been through six months of appointments, watched the required educational materials they’d sent me, and even signed the “consent to tie up my shit” forms before they asked me what type of tube surgery I wanted. As I found out, if you want to not make a baby, your most common options include having your tubes cauterized, cinched off with a medical clip or a ring, or yanked out altogether.

My doctor and I opted for a bilateral salpingectomy, which I’d never heard of before I signed up for one. The procedure removes your tubes entirely, and comes with a bonus perk: a huge decrease in ovarian cancer risk. A substantial portion of ovarian cancer cases start in the fallopian tubes, and removing them is suspected to greatly reduce one’s risk. 

It’s impossible to know how you’ll feel after something like this, but regret is rare. When I woke up from surgery, other than confusion and surgical level cramps, the main thing I felt- and still feel- was deep relief.

I’m two weeks out of surgery. I feel fine and the incision scars are even smaller than I expected. I’m getting used to my newly altered belly button because that’s some shit I was not fully prepared for with laparoscopic surgery; your belly button changes. 

I also was not prepared for this taking a year of my time from when I first started the process. I had multiple meetings that were just doctors explaining to me- once again- that permanent sterilization is, indeed, permanent. And doctors asking “I know you said you were sure but uh… are you totally sure?” And at least one time in which I had to call and ask the Kaiser gynecology department “are y’all super backed up or did you forget about me for two months?” Punchline: they absolutely just fucking forgot. 

I’ve heard tales of men who got a vasectomy the day they requested it. 

If you want a sterilization procedure and you’d prefer not to pay for consult after endless consult with every doctor in your area before you find one who respects your decisions, do your research first. There are several groups online that list doctors who are friendly to reproductive choices that include not having children. Much like me, if you start day one with a doctor who says yes, it might only take a year. 

This has been your Moment of Science, still disappointed that I didn’t get to keep my tubes in a jar of formaldehyde.

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MOS: Tubal Ligation