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Sterilization, surgical procedure designed to prevent conception. In females, the fallopian tubes are cut and tied to prevent eggs reaching the womb, thus providing permanent contraception. The procedure is essentially irreversible. In males, sterilization may be achieved by vasectomy, an operation in which the vas deferens on each side is tied off and cut to prevent sperm from reaching the seminal vesicles. Sterilization is also the name of the process of treating medical equipment to ensure that it is not contaminated by bacteria and other microorganisms. Metal and linen objects are often sterilized by heat. Chemical disinfection is also used, and plastic equipment is exposed to gamma rays.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Sterility to Swedish