Where Can I Get Information about Birth Control?
The Alberta government has a website of useful health information and links to other websites. This can be found at: www.health.alberta.ca
For information specific to birth control, click here.
In addition, doctors and Family Planning Clinics in Alberta offer counseling and information face-to-face. Referrals are also available from various government and private agencies such as Alberta Health Units and Birth Control Associations. You should ensure that you are approaching a reputable agency by inquiring as to its standards and accountability. (Community agencies and private clinics should be accountable to Family and Community Support Services, Alberta Family and Social Services, Regional Health Authorities, or the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons.)
If you require birth control information, you should contact your local Health Unit, government clinic, or talk to your own doctor. A minor may ask a doctor to make a confidential claim submission to Alberta Health Care so that the chargefor medical services does not show up on the health care statements.
Sterilization renders a woman or man permanently infertile (i.e. incapable of producing children). Many couples choose sterilization as a method of birth control. A common method of sterilization for women is called a tubal ligation which involves surgery to cut and tie off the fallopian tubes. This prevents the ovum from reaching the uterus and being fertilized. Another form of sterilization available to women is through the use of Bleier clips. Women who have had Bleier clips inserted should have the clips tested by their doctor. The Bleier clips have been shown to have a ten percent failure rate. A test called a hysterosalpingogram will show if the clips are working.
Men can also have a procedure for sterilization. A vasectomy is a surgical procedure for men during which the vas deferens— the tubes that carry sperm from the testes—are severed. Vasectomy is a safe and permanent means of male contraception, though it can sometimes be reversed should the need arise.
There are no laws prohibiting voluntary sterilization but a doctor may refuse to perform a tubal ligation on moral or religious grounds. Although a spouse’s consent is not required by law, some doctors may require that a woman obtain her husband’s permission before proceeding, or vice versa. As well, some doctors will refuse to perform a tubal ligation if a couple has no children or if the couple is particularly young, because sterilization is intended to be permanent.
If you wish to undergo a sterilization procedure, contact a Birth Control Association, Family Planning Clinic or a Planned Parenthood agency for more information and a referral. Your family doctor and some walk-in doctors can also refer you for such procedures.
In the past, some mentally handicapped women were subjected to involuntary sterilization for reasons that may not have been in their own best interests. Under the Dependent Adults Act of Alberta, and similar legislation in other provinces, all that was necessary was the consent of the dependent adult’s legal guardian. However, in 1986, the Supreme Court of Canada held that sterilization for therapeutic purposes could be carried out only in extreme circumstances, after a full judicial hearing, at which the woman to be sterilized is independently represented by a lawyer, and upon proof that the procedure is in the best interest of the woman.