We verified maternal age, parity, mode of delivery concurrent to tubal ligation and the contraceptive practice that preceded it; and to identify the reasons that motivated these women to have tubal ligation and tubal reconstructive surgery. This is a cross-sectional field study, carried out in a public laboratory for infertility in Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil, with 13 women. Data were collected through interviews from January to April, 2009. Ler foneticamente Tubal ligations were made on 25-year-old women or less, right after childbirth, mothers of two children or less, unaware of contraceptive methods and/or how to obtain them. These women alleged male carelessness with fatherhood, the lack of desire for more children and pressure from families and employers as the reasons for sterilization. For 11 of these women, the change of male companion was decisive in looking for surgical reversion, showing the continuity of the strong influence that male partners have on women's decisions on reproduction.