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Determining Which Partner to Sterilize

Informed consent to a sterilization should include information on the alternatives, among them the sterilization of the other partner. Many couples are not aware that tubal ligation on a woman is major surgery requiring general anesthesia, while vasectomy on a man is minor surgery that can be done under local anesthesia. A gynecologist should offer the alternative to a woman before doing a tubal ligation. Gynecologists who do not do vasectomies should refer the couple to a physician who can provide the service they desire. The limits of a particular physician are no excuse for limiting a patient's choices.

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