Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Tubal ligation during c-section

24 December, 2009

Question:

I am 38 years old and pregnant. I currently have three children (two boys and one girl), all delivered by c–section. At my last birth, the surgeon told me that because of my internal scarring, I should not have more than one additional birth. He strongly suggested that at my next delivery (i.e. the upcoming one) I undergo tubal ligation during the c–section to prevent further pregnancies, which could be dangerous. Under these circumstances, would the procedure be permitted? What are the issues involved? Note that I have been on the pill in the past with side effects I'd rather not have again (lower sex drive, slight depression). I would be happy to give any more information that may be relevant. Thank you.


Answer:

B'Sha'ah Tovah!

Tubal ligation is a permanent form of sterilization and sterilization of animals as well as people is prohibited based on Leviticus 22:24. This is considered a biblical commandment for men and a rabbinic decree for women. Thus, a vasectomy is absolutely forbidden.  But, in times of great need such as very serious health risks, after rabbinic consultation, a tubal ligation would sometimes be permitted for women.

Tubal ligation is generally only considered when all other methods of contraception cannot be used. If you wish to avoid using hormonal methods, you should speak to your doctor about using the IUD or a diaphragm. You can read our section on choosing a birth control method and discuss your options with him or her.

Please feel free to get back to us with any further questions.  


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