In industrialised countries sterilisation is generally performed by laparoscopy. In settings where the resources for purchase and maintenance of laparoscopic equipment are limited, minilaparotomy may still be the most common approach. The advantages and disadvantages of laparoscopic sterilisation compared to minilaparotomy have not been systematically evaluated. The ideal method would be one which is highly effective, economical, able to be performed on an outpatient basis, allowing rapid resumption of normal activity and producing a minimal or invisible scar. This review considers the methods to enter the abdominal cavity through the abdominal wall, regardless of the technique used for tubal sterilisation.