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Tubal ligation during c-section

24 December, 2009


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.


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. The hormonal IUD, which secretes progesterone, is also an option, since it would not have the same side effects as the pill. 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.

This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

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