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June 1, 2016 | Urology
Are you wondering if a vasectomy is right for you? The Urology Care Foundation reports that over 500,000 American men choose this permanent method of birth control every year. The procedure is safe, simple, convenient and the most effective method of birth control available, next to abstinence.
“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,” according to WebMD.
Vasectomy may be the right choice for you if:
You are 100 percent certain that you don’t want to have a child biologically in the future.
You don’t want to pass on a genetic illness or disability.
Pregnancy is a threat to your partner’s health.
You and your partner find other birth control methods or their side effects unacceptable.
You want to spare your partner the more complicated and expensive tubal ligation sterilization procedure.
You want to enjoy worry-free, spontaneous sex that does not result in pregnancy.
Vasectomy does not affect your masculinity or change your hormones, your sex drive or your sex organs. It won’t diminish your sexual pleasure or the sensation of orgasm in any way. Your ability to get and stay erect will remain the same. You will continue to produce sperm, and your ejaculate will contain the same amount of fluid as before, with no change in appearance.
During vasectomy, your urologist closes the vasa deferentia, the two tubes that carry sperm. When these tubes are blocked, sperm is kept out of the seminal fluid and absorbed by your body instead of being ejaculated.
You may receive an oral or intravenous medication to calm you during the procedure, and a local anesthetic is injected into your pelvic area. Your urologist makes an incision on each side of the scrotum to reach each vas deferens and block the tubes with surgical clips, an electrical current or a tying off technique. The vas deferens is then replaced inside the scrotum, and the skin is closed with dissolvable stitches. The procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes.
Although the operation is reversible in some cases, the surgery is expensive, complex and there are no guarantees that fertility will be restored.
If a no-incision method is used—called a no-scalpel vasectomy—the procedure is even quicker. This technique uses a small clamp with pointed ends to poke through the skin of the scrotum. As effective as traditional vasectomy, this procedure results in less bleeding, a smaller hole in the skin, no stitches or scarring and fewer complications such as infection.
You may experience minor pain, numbness and swelling in your scrotum, but most men find the discomfort very moderate and easily relieved with cold packs, a non-aspirin pain reliever, and wearing snug underwear or a jockstrap.
You can return to work in a day or two, but should avoid heavy lifting for a week. Most men are comfortable enough to enjoy sexual intercourse within a week, but you must use another method of birth control for approximately three months until your sperm count is zero. Your doctor will perform a semen analysis to ensure there are no more sperm in your ejaculate.
Experts advise men to give great thought to any life changes that might cause them to regret a vasectomy, such as divorce, remarriage or death of children. Although the operation is reversible in some cases, the surgery is expensive, complex and there are no guarantees that fertility will be restored.
Planned Parenthood reports the success of reversal surgery depends on:
The length of time since the vasectomy was performed.
Whether or not antibodies to sperm have developed.
The method used for vasectomy and the length and location of the segments of vas deferens that were removed or blocked.
Still wondering if a vasectomy is the right birth control method for you? Revere Health Urology providers are specialists in the urology field with extensive experience in a wide range of conditions and procedures, including vasectomy. You’ll receive personalized and compassionate care at all eight of our Utah locations.
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.