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Failed Sterilisation

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What is failed sterilisation?

Many individuals come to the decision, after significant consideration, that they do not want to have or have any more children. As such, individuals undergo sterilisation of their sperm or eggs. Negligence may occur when an individual conceives a child following sterilisation taking place.

In Rees v Darlington Memorial Hospital Trust [2003] UKHL 52 the Claimant was compensated £15,000.00 for the deprivation of their right to limit their family size.

This page focuses on female sterilisation.

Female sterilisation

An individual can undergo female sterilisation by way of general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic.

For female sterilisation to take place, the fallopian tubes are sealed or blocked so the eggs cannot travel from the ovaries to the womb through the fallopian tubes and thus, meet sperm and become fertilised. Instead, eggs will be released from the ovaries and absorb into a female’s body.

Fallopian tubes are sealed or blocked by:

  1. Applying clips – photos are often taken during the procedure to show the clips have been successfully placed if used.
  2. Applying rings.
  3. Removing part of the fallopian tube.

If the fallopian tubes cannot be sealed or blocked, the fallopian tubes can be completely removed (this procedure is called a salpingectomy).

Failed Sterilisation


When is failed sterilisation negligent?

Failed sterilisation can become negligent when the following has occurred:

  • The medical professional has not cut, sealed or blocked the fallopian tubes correctly so the eggs can still travel from the ovaries to the womb through the fallopian tubes e.g. the clips are not placed in the correct position.
  • A failure to provide contraceptive advice up to three months post sterilisation as a female is still at risk of pregnancy during this time.
  • Informed consent has not been obtained.

It is important to note known risks of female sterilisation include:

  • The fallopian tubes re-growing (immediately or years after)
  • The clips, which have been clamped to the fallopian tubes correctly, falling off

In these instances, the actions of the treating medical professionals would not be deemed negligent. As such, you would not be able to claim.

Statistics/key facts

  • Female sterilisation is predominantly carried out in women aged 30 and over who have children.
  • Female sterilisation is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • However, vasectomies have a higher success rate than female sterilisation.
  • Sterilisation does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Sterilisation does not affect your hormone levels and therefore, you can still have periods.
  • It is very difficult to reverse sterilisation.



How do I make a claim?

If you feel that a medical professional has failed to sterilise you for any of the above reasons then you could be entitled to compensation. The team at Oakwood Solicitors will be able to give you free advice on the prospects of your case and whether you would be eligible to make a claim.

You have three years from the date you learn of the negligence and/or pregnancy to pursue a case so do not delay.

How long will my case take to run?

Given the complexities involved in pursuing Clinical Negligence claims, they can often take 18-24 months to conclude and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued. Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant records and protocols before approaching independent medical experts for their opinion.

We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.

How much is my claim worth?

It is often difficult to value clinical negligence claims at their outset given the complexities involved however we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

  • General damages – An award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.
  • Special damages – An award for all of your out of pocket expenses such as travel expenses, medication costs, loss of earnings, treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case-specific.

How is my case funded?

The majority of Clinical Negligence cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a ‘No-win, no-fee’ agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay upfront and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost.

If you are successful in your claim, a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained, the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.

The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd


Why use Oakwood Solicitors Ltd to make your case for Failed Sterilisation?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of clinical negligence.

We want to ensure at Oakwood Solicitors Ltd that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, medical terms that they don’t understand and to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.


For any advice about failed sterilisation or any other matter regarding medical negligence, get in touch today for a free initial consultation in complete confidence. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.


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Head of Department - Medical Negligence

0113 200 9780

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