Permanent Birth Control

Skip the scalpel. Two minutes, two inserts--and your childbearing years are over

Wolf Hoffmann for TIME

Doctors implant Essure coils to create scar tissue that blocks Fallopian tubes.

Getting your tubes tied is not the most appealing phrase, but it's way more user-friendly than sterilization. Maybe that's why the maker of Essure--a newer, cheaper, faster, scalpel-free alternative to tubal ligation--is marketing the procedure as "permanent birth control."

It took just two minutes for Theresa Jackson to get sterilized. On a recent afternoon in Gallatin, Tenn., the 35-year-old mother of three lay on an exam table in the office of her ob-gyn, Dr. Alan Bennett, with her feet in stirrups and her husband by her side. She was awake and relaxed enough to let me watch (weird, I know) as...

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