Vasectomy is the most effective form of permanent birth control available. It is more than 99% successful (roughly 99.85%), and is associated with minimal risk and a quick recovery. It is generally safer and less expensive than other permanent birth control procedures. It is also less painful than sterilization in women.
What to Expect
The vas deferens is the tube through which the sperm travels from the testicle, where it is made, to the urethra where it joins with the fluid portion of the ejaculate. Most men have two testicles and therefore a vasectomy is performed on each side. During the vasectomy, your doctor will make one or two small openings in the upper scrotum after applying local anesthesia. Each vas will be identified, a small section removed, and the ends sealed. The skin is then closed, possibly with several small stitches which will dissolve and do not have to be removed. After a vasectomy, there is no change in hormone levels, sexual desire or function, and there is no noticeable change in the amount or appearance of the ejaculate.
The procedure is performed in a urologist’s office and only takes about 10-15 minutes with local anesthesia. Most men can return to work within one to two days.
How Effective is a Vasectomy
It is the most reliable of all methods of contraception currently available with a failure rate of only 0.025%. The most important thing to remember is that the procedure is not considered effective immediately.
What to Expect Following the Procedure
Most men can expect to recover completely in less than one week. Always follow your physician's instructions.
- Day 1-3:
- Day 3-7:
- Return to most daily activities.
- Avoid exercise or heavy exertional activity — including sexual activity. Most instances of complications from vasectomies occur because of too much activity too soon following the procedure.
- Day 8+:
- Exercise and heavy exertional activity may be continued
You must continue to use alternate birth control methods until the follow-up test. It takes time for the existing sperm to clear. There is also a very rare occurrence of the tubes rejoining while they heal.
After three months, you will be asked to bring in a sample. Once a sample has shown no sperm remaining, other forms of birth control can be discontinued.
Does a Vasectomy Affect Future Sexual Function?
No. A Vasectomy prevents the transport of sperm. It has no effect on testosterone production or sexual functions.
Is a Vasectomy Reversable
Yes. While Vasectomy is considered to be permanent sterilization though it is actually quite successfully reversed. The reversal procedure is usually not covered by insurance (unlike vasectomy which almost always is covered), and is more involved, requiring a general anesthetic. If you have a vasectomy you should be quite sure that you do not want children in the future.