What Is a Vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a form of permanent birth control. It
prevents sperm from being released during ejaculation. During the procedure,
the vas deferens are cut or blocked. The vas deferens is the duct that carries
sperm from the testicles to the urethra.
Although vasectomy is theoretically reversible, reversal
does not always work. Men should consider vasectomy only if they are certain
they are finished having children.
A vasectomy is one of the most effective methods of birth
control. According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), pregnancy will occur in less than two out of every
1,000 couples in which the man has had a vasectomy.
How Does a Vasectomy Work?
In order for a pregnancy to occur, sperm need to travel from
the testicles to the man’s urethra.
Sealing or cutting the vas deferens prevents sperm from reaching the urethra. A
man who has had a vasectomy has no sperm in his ejaculate. His ejaculate cannot
How Is a Vasectomy Performed?
A vasectomy must be performed in a doctor’s office or
medical facility. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss if vasectomy
is the right method of birth control for you.
There are two different vasectomy methods. In one, two
incisions are made to access the vas deferens on either side of the scrotum. In
the other, a small hole is made to access both tubes. They are then both cut
and sealed. Then stitches are put in place, if needed.
Vasectomy is usually performed under local anesthesia. After the procedure, you will need to avoid
sex for approximately a week. You should also avoid strenuous activities during
How Effective is Vasectomy?
A vasectomy is nearly 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.
It is the most effective birth control method for men. However, vasectomy is
not immediately effective. Existing sperm need to be cleared out of your system
before it is safe to have unprotected sex. This can take up to three months.
Your doctor will conduct a semen analysis so that you know
when it is safe to have sex. For this test you will masturbate to provide a
semen sample. It will be examined for the presence of any sperm.
What Are the Benefits of Vasectomy?
A vasectomy is an effective and permanent way to prevent
pregnancy. It is best for men who are certain they do not want children. A
vasectomy does not have any lasting effects on sexual activity or performance.
Vasectomies are easier and less expensive than female
sterilization. Couples who have decided against having future children should
discuss their options with a doctor.
What Are the Disadvantages of Vasectomy?
The main disadvantage of vasectomy is that it does not
protect against sexually transmitted infections. It is also a permanent
procedure. Reversal may be possible in some circumstances, but is not always an
option. Reversal is more complicated than the initial procedure.
What Are the Risks of Vasectomy?
Potential short-term complications of vasectomy include:
- bleeding inside the scrotum
- blood in the semen
Long-term complications of vasectomy are rare. They include:
- fluid buildup in the testicle
- chronic pain
It is uncommon for a vasectomy to spontaneously heal, but it
can happen. If it does, your sexual partner may be at risk of pregnancy.