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Sterilisation: how health insurance works for vasectomies, tubal ligation and more

Chris Stanley

Chris Stanley

Updated 23/02/2023
Fact Checked

There are various sterilisation methods that can provide permanent contraception for couples. Here’s how health insurance factors into this equation.

Sterilisation: how health insurance works for vasectomies, tubal ligation and more

A vasectomy is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in Australia, with over 29,000 men having one each year.

Private health insurance for sterilisation, vasectomies & tubal ligation

There are many reasons why you might want to look into sterilisation options. Perhaps you already have a young family and don’t want any more children. Maybe you and your partner have decided to remain child-free. Or perhaps you simply aren’t interested in having kids at all.

Whatever the case, permanent contraception procedures are available for both males and females. However, the cost can be prohibitive if you don’t have an adequate level of health insurance. Here’s what you need to know and why it’s a good idea to get private health cover.

Key Points

  • The most common sterilisation procedures in Australia are tubal ligations and vasectomies.

  • Medicare may cover up to 75% of the Medicare Benefit Schedule fee for sterilisation treatments, however various other costs will likely apply (e.g. hospital stays, out-of-pocket surgery & anaesthetic fees, etc.).

  • Vasectomies generally cost less than $1,000 whereas tubal ligation can be up to $4,500.

  • Various health funds have different policies around permanent contraception surgeries – so do your research before selecting your insurer.


What are the different sterilisation methods available for men and women?

There are different contraceptive procedures for men and women.

Tubal ligation is the most common sterilisation treatment for females in Australia. This involves closing the fallopian tubes, and can be performed by cutting and tying them off, clamping them shut, or cauterising them. For less invasive treatments, the tubes may be closed with a clip, band or ring so they remain whole.

For males, a vasectomy is a standard procedure that can be either ‘closed’ or ‘open’ ended. For a closed-ended vasectomy, the vas deferens (ie, the tube carrying sperm out of the testes) is sealed shut at both ends; whereas an open-ended vasectomy involves leaving the end connected to the testicles open, allowing sperm to travel into the intra-scrotal space. 

For the latter, while the sperm can freely travel into this space, it eventually dies and is reabsorbed into the body. While both are highly effective treatments, an open-ended vasectomy tends to be the most common because of the lower rate of complications.

How permanent are these sterilisation procedures?

Although both tubal ligations and vasectomies may technically be reversible, they’re considered permanent due to their complicated nature and the fact that many health professionals will not perform reversals. 

Also, the vast majority of private health insurers will not cover the cost of sterilisation reversal procedures.

How much does tubal ligation cost in Australia?

When you hear about sterilisation procedures, a vasectomy is generally considered the more common option. This is because it only takes around 15 minutes from start to finish and is performed under local anaesthetic. 

For tubal ligation, patients usually spend several hours in the hospital and must undergo a general anaesthetic.

Due to the extended time spent in hospital and the need for general anaesthetic, tubal ligations in Australia can cost up to $4,500. For vasectomies, whether they are open or closed-ended, you’re likely looking at costs of under $1,000*.

Does Medicare pay for tubal ligation?

In good news for Australians looking at sterilisation treatments, Medicare offers a benefit of up to 75% of the Medicare Benefit Schedule fee for both tubal ligations (when performed in conjunction with a C-section) and vasectomies, meaning you’ll only be out of pocket a small amount.

Important Note:

Medicare’s coverage begins and ends with the procedure itself (surgery, anaesthetic). Because tubal ligation requires a hospital stay for at least part of the day, you’re required to cover those expenses on your own, and they can add up. Read more about this here.

If you don’t want to be hit with out-of-pocket costs for your sterilisation treatment, look for a private health fund that takes care of part or all of your associated expenses.


Is a vasectomy covered by private health insurance?

While Medicare covers the brunt of your vasectomy procedure, it’s still worth looking into private health insurance for all the other benefits. 

For example, if you have private cover and are looking at sterilisation options, you’ll be able to choose your preferred practitioner – which can be very important for this sensitive procedure.

Having private health insurance also means you don’t have to wait for a bulk-biller or public hospital to fit you into their schedule. Waiting times can often be quite long. You may also be covered for additional costs relating to hospital stays, anaesthetics and post-operative treatments. 

As always, make sure you read your policy in full to avoid any hidden costs and see what – if any – out-of-pocket expenses you’re required to cover yourself.

How long are the waiting periods for vasectomies?

Make sure you compare private health funds before making a decision, as some may not cover sterilisation procedures.

Generally, policies that do cover these treatments will only require you to see out a two-month waiting period before you can access your benefits.

How do I find the best health insurance for contraceptive surgery?

With so many different health funds and tiers to investigate, it can be difficult to find the right provider for your needs. If you’re looking into permanent contraceptive surgery then comparing health funds online can make life much easier.

At Compare Club, we take your relevant details and scour our panel of premium health insurers# to find a great value policy that suits your needs#. With our help, it only takes a few minutes.



This guide is opinion only and should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a professional before making any decisions.
#Compare Club compares selected products from a panel of trusted insurers. We do not compare all products in the market.

*Vasectomy and tubal ligation FAQs Tubal ligation Reproductive health Vasectomy Contraception

Chris Stanley is the sales & operations manager of health insurance at Compare Club. With extensive experience and expertise, Chris is a trusted leader known for his deep understanding of health insurance markets, policies, and coverage options. As the sales & operations manager of health insurance, Chris leads a team of dedicated professionals committed to helping individuals and families make informed decisions about their health insurance needs.

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Chris Stanley

Sales & Operations Manager for Health Insurance