Increasingly often, sterilisation of men or women is being employed as a contraception method as soon as family planning is complete.

The patient must be at least 25 years of age, and there may not be any legal hindrances involved. While some doctors and/or hospitals require that the patient be older and have a certain number of children, such rules are arbitrary and not anchored in law. Demanding the approval of the husband or wife has no legal basis either.

Women: severing and sealing the Fallopian tubes (tubal ligation) blocks the path along which the sperm cells travel to the egg cells, making fertilisation impossible. The operation, performed under general anaesthesia, employs laparoscopy (one to three small incisions are made in the abdomen or pelvis), and both Fallopian tubes are either cut (coagulation) or closed off (clips). The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.

In contrast, severing a man’s sperm duct (vasectomy) is a minor procedure with local anaesthesia that requires approximately 15 minutes. Complications are extremely rare.

This method, quick and uncomplicated, is permanent and can be reversed in solely a very few cases. Neither sexuality nor bodily function are affected, regardless of sex.

In a partnership, both members should carefully consider the question of who is sterilised. While vasectomies are simpler and involve less risk, the person who undergoes sterilisation is the only one protected outside the current relationship.

In Austria, health-insurance companies pay for this procedure only when it is made necessary by a medical condition.