We commend all men who are not interested in additional fertility for doing their part and considering vasectomy! Vasectomy is intended to be a permanent form of sterilization and is one of the most effective forms of birth control.
It also comes with lower risks than the alternative methods of permanent contraception (ie ligation of fallopian tubes). The procedure involves isolating and dividing both the right and left vas deferens, the tubes that drains sperm from the testicles in the scrotum. There are many effective methods of division, which can include cutting the tubes and sealing the ends with cautery electricity, suture or clips, and then stitching a layer of tissue between the two ends. The procedure typically only requires a numbing injection and takes about 20 minutes. Many patients opt to take an additional oral sedative pill.
When to ask a Urologist about Vasectomy
You should speak with a Urologist about vasectomy if you are interested in a permanent form of birth control.
Typically covered by most insurances (although coinsurance and deductibles may apply). Coverage will be verified prior to proceeding. If you do not have insurance, our office will be able to give you an out-of-pocket cost estimate.
The long-term failure rate of vasectomy is around 1 in 2000 men once initial sterilization is confirmed on post-vasectomy semen analysis. Vasectomy is not immediately effective because there still can be live sperm downstream of the division for several months. An alternative form of birth control is required following vasectomy until the follow-up semen analysis approximately 2-3 months after the procedure. A successful vasectomy is confirmed by one semen analysis with no sperm or rare non-motile sperm (less than 100,000/ml) that represent dead sperm.
Possible Side Effects
Vasectomy does not affect testosterone production. So you will not experience changes in sexual performance, erectile function, ejaculate semen volume, or testosterone levels. Although there are many common misperceptions about this procedure, the only sexual side effect should be not worrying about pregnancy! The risk of serious swelling with a blood pocket and long-term pain following vasectomy is around 1%. The risk of infection and testicular loss or damage is exceedingly rare and far less than 1%.
Alternatives to vasectomy include using other methods of birth control such as condoms for men and birth control pills or intrauterine devices for women.
What to do to Prepare for Surgery
Medications that thin the blood including fish oil and pain relievers such as ibuprofen should be stopped several days before the procedure. If planning to take an oral sedative pill, you should bring the pill with you after picking it up from the pharmacy and come about one hour early to the office. You must sign several forms before taking the pill in the waiting area. You must also arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure if you use the sedative pill. You can also consider bringing a jock strap from a sporting goods store for additional support after the procedure. There is no need to shave your scrotum prior to coming to the office.
What to Expect after Surgery
You will likely have mild to moderate soreness for about 1-2 days. Patients rarely require taking more than one day off of work.