A vasectomy is considered a permanent method of birth control. A vasectomy prevents the release of sperm when a man ejaculates.
During a vasectomy, the vas deferens from each testicle is cut and tied. This prevents sperm from mixing with the semen that is ejaculated from the penis. An egg cannot be fertilized when there are no sperm in the semen. The testicles continue to produce sperm, but the sperm are reabsorbed by the body. Because the tubes are blocked before the seminal vesicles and prostate, you still ejaculate about the same amount of fluid.
It usually takes several months after a vasectomy for all remaining sperm to be ejaculated or reabsorbed. You must use another method of birth control until you have a semen sample tested and it shows a zero sperm count. Otherwise, you can still get your partner pregnant.
- This is generally performed under general anaesthesia as a day procedure
- Your testicles and scrotum are cleaned with an antiseptic.
- Each vas deferens is located by touch.
- A local anaesthetic is injected into the area.
- Your surgeon makes two small openings in your scrotum. Through these opening, the two vas deferens tubes are cut and a portion removed. The two ends of the vas deferens are tied, and sealed. Scar tissue from the surgery helps block the tubes.
- The vas deferens is then replaced inside the scrotum and the skin is closed with stitches that dissolve and do not have to be removed.
What to Expect After Surgery
- Your scrotum will be numb for 1 to 2 hours after a vasectomy. Apply cold packs to the area and lie on your back as much as possible for the rest of the day. Wearing snug underwear will help ease discomfort and protect the area.
- You may have some swelling and minor pain in your scrotum for several days after the surgery. Unless your work is strenuous, you will be able to return to work in 1 or 2 days. Avoid heavy lifting for a week.
- You can resume sexual intercourse as soon as you are comfortable, usually in about a week.
- You can still get your partner pregnant until your sperm count is zero. You must use another method of birth control until you have a follow-up sperm count test 2 months after the vasectomy (or after 10 to 20 ejaculations over a shorter period of time). Once your sperm count is zero, no other birth control method is necessary.
- A vasectomy will not interfere with your sex drive, ability to have erections, sensation of orgasm, or ability to ejaculate. You may have occasional mild aching in your testicles during sexual arousal for a few months after the surgery.
How Well It Works
Vasectomy is a very effective (99.85%) birth control method. Only 1 to 2 women out of 1,000 will have an unplanned pregnancy in the first year after their partners have had a vasectomy.
- Permanent method of birth control.
- Once your semen does not contain sperm, you do not need to worry about using other birth control methods.
- Safer, and cheaper procedure that causes fewer complications than tubal ligation in women
- The cost of other methods, such as birth control pills or condoms and spermicide, is likely to be greater over time.
- A vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
- Condoms are the most effective method for preventing STDs. To protect yourself and your partner from STDs, use a condom every time you have sex.