Endometrial Eblation



I was at my doctor last week, and he recommended that I have this procedure done. My insurance requires this be done before a hysterectomy (it’s the 1st alternative). What they do is remove the uterine wall. The downside to this is that it is required to have a tubal ligation for the procedure. The doctors will not perform it without sterilization.

If I do this, does this mean I have to be celibate until I would have a hysterectomy? But then if this procedure worked… yeek! I’m only 29! I have to have something done, and changing insurance is not an option (both my company’s and my husband’s company’s insurance requires this procedure before a hysterectomy for my condition).

What are my options? I was supposed to give my answer to the procedure last week, but I’m just still hung up on it all… THANKS!


it depends on the reason for prescribing either this procedure or ultimately hysterectomy. the same moral dilemma would apply to the latter as well. If the surgery is to heal life-threatening medical condition, not for the sole purpose of preventing conception, it may be done. If the sole purpose of either procedure is to prevent conception, no. You might contact a Catholic hospital or your diocesan family life office and see if there is a medical ethicist you can meet with to discuss your decision in all its ramifications. But make sure you get all the medical facts straight first, and ask your doctor a lot more questions. There are other alternatives that what is being suggested for many conditions.


The uterine procedure may be a licit one, if it is a treatment for a disease. However, tubal ligation is not a “treatment” and as a sterilization procedure, is illicit. More information necessary to fully understand the morality of the uterine procedure.

A second opinion is surely in order, and I would suggest one from a physician known for his loyalty to the Church and her teachings. Look at the Pope Paul VI Institute.

You are in my prayers. I am very sorry to hear of this situation in someone so young.


The tubal is done as standard practice with the ablation. It IS to prevent pregnancy, since a pregnancy after the ablation can be life-threatening (no uterine wall). I’ve already called two other doctors, and both have confirmed that yes, I will have to have a tubal with the procedure, that NFP is not a valid birth control measure after a procedure such as this.

So this tells me that the medical community doesn’t trust me using NFP. At the same time, if I was to get pregnant (theoretically speaking if I had the procedure), I would definitely lose that baby, no question about that. So which would be more moral? Not to conceive the baby in the first place or abort the baby during a forced hysterectomy to save me?


You definitely need the help of a medical ethicist.
From the information you have posted here though, I would say that the moral option is to have the hysterectomy, not the endometrial ablation plus the bilateral tubal ligation, though you are only in your late twenties.


Assuming this is a necessary treatment for a serious condition, the resulting sterilization is not the object, just a side-effect. I do not see any moral problem with this.

And therefore, no, you would not need to remain celibate.

I am sorry that you have to have this procedure done and I will pray for your health.


Did you know that pregnancy could still occur after a tubal ligation? Anyways, the Church says that a procedure to treat a “diseased” area that has the side effect of sterilization can be ok, but a procedure done solely for sterilization is not. I second the idea of getting a second opinion, if possible from a practicing Catholic dr if you have one in your area. In the event of sterilization being a side effect, you do not have to remain celibate, but sterilization can never be the purpose of the procedure.


This is an interesting question. I suspect it would be just as moral as it would be to have a hysterectomy. I would think that no doctor in his right mind would do this procedure for sterilization purposes. If a woman wanted to be sterilized, I think they would just tie her tubes without touching the uterus.

Does a woman with a hysterectomy who keeps her tubes also have them tied? I had a hysterectomy many years ago, they kept my tubes in there, and I don’t have a clue.

It seems to me that this would be a moral procedure because it would be like doing a partial hysterectomy. The ablation makes the uterus into a useless organ, so it would be dangerous not to tie off the tubes as part of the procedure.

I don’t know that the Church has ever spoken specifically about this procedure. I’m guessing that the Church can’t make a declaration on every medical procedure, so she expects us to use our common sense.


Like the other posters have said, if the intent is to treat a disease, a procedure that renders you sterile is licit. You might want to talk to your priest about this and get his input. If no doctor will perform the ablation without the tubal ligation, it seems like you would be morally allowed to have the tubal. That’s just my thinking though, I could be wrong. Talk to your priest.

I’m really sorry you have to go through this! I had my hysterectomy at 29, three months ago, so I have an idea of what you might be thinking and feeling. I’ll keep you and your husband in my prayers!


One more thing, I know there was a previous thread where the OP was in a similar dilemma and was advised by Dr. Thomas Hilgers of The Pope Paul VI Institute (a good resource for ethical/fertility dilemmas) to go with a hysterectomy, just thought I would mention it. I don’t know any of the medical conditions of that poster and how they compared to yours, but I was thinking you may be able to contact them and see what they suggest (explaining your insurance issue).


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