Still another method sometimes used by people who wish never to have any more children involves sterilization of either the man or the woman in a way that prevents fertilization yet does not lessen either one's capacity to enjoy intercourse. In men this is done by means of a minor, easy, inexpensive, and harmless surgical operation. A short section from each vas deferens, the tube that carries the sperm from the testicles, is cut and the remaining ends tied. Instead of passing along the tube, the sperm are absorbed int0 man's body. Thus, no sperm are contained in the semen when the man ejaculates. Since the sperm make up only a microscopically small part of the semen, no reduction in the quantity of semen in noticeable. The operation is called vasectomy.
Women cah be sterilized by having their fallopian tubes tied and cut by a surgeon so the egg cells cannot pass from the ovarty into the uterus. This operation is called a tubal ligation. At present, it is a more difficult than a vasectomy and must be done in ha hospital, though doctors have developed a technique to do it almost as quickly and simply as a vasectomy. This process is called a laparoscopy.
A small incision is made in the navel (so that the scar will not be noticeable) and a miniature telescope is inserted, through which the doctor can see the fallopian tubes. The doctor also inserts an electric cauterizer to burn out a small section of each tube and to close up the ends so that no eggs or sperm can pass. Neither a vascectomy not a tubal ligation interferes with the enjoyment of sexual intercourse; they may actually increase enjoyment because the worry about pregnancy and the need for using any kind of device is gone. Both operations should be considered permanent, although another operation may be performed to undo them. But this second operation has much less than a fifty-fifty chance of suceeding and thus cannot be relied upon.
Abstinence means to abstain from - that is, not to have sexual intercourse. However, since sexual sharing is such an important part of couple's relationship and one of the ways that couple have pleasure together and express their love for each other, abstinence is an unsatisfactory method of family planning.