Seven questions men ask before having a vasectomy
Vasectomy is a permanent form of male birth control. It’s a simple surgery that prevents sperm from leaving your body and causing a pregnancy.
Sperm is produced in your testicles and then moves through tubes (vas deferens) and mixes with other fluids to form semen. The sperm in your semen is what fertilizes the egg after sexual intercourse.
Once proven successful, vasectomy is one of the most effective forms of birth control. And most health insurance plans cover it.
Here are some common questions men ask when thinking about having a vasectomy:
What happens during a vasectomy?
In a vasectomy, the doctor cuts the vas deferens tubes and blocks them off so that your semen will no longer contain sperm. Each testicle has one vas deferens tube. Both tubes are cut and blocked off.
There are two types of vasectomy procedures: the standard method and the “no-scalpel” method.
In the standard method, the doctor makes one or two small incisions in the scrotum to get access to the vas deferens. In the no-scalpel method, the doctor makes a small puncture in the scrotum and then pulls the vas deferens through the opening to perform the procedure. The puncture is so small that no stitches are required.
In both methods, the doctor cuts the vas deferens and then closes the ends with stitches or clips. The doctor may also put a small portion of your own tissue between the two closed-off ends to block them completely. This is called tissue interposition.
Will I need to stay in the hospital after a vasectomy?
No. The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes, and then you can go home and rest.
You can go back to work in a few days. If your job involves strenuous physical activity, you may need to wait a little longer before returning to work.
Does a vasectomy hurt?
You should feel very little pain or discomfort during the procedure. Most men who have a vasectomy are awake during the procedure and require only local anesthesia to numb the testicles and scrotum.
You may feel some pain or discomfort for a few days after the procedure, and there may be some bruising or swelling. Over-the-counter pain medication and an ice pack can help reduce the pain as you recover.
How long do I need to wait to have sex again after a vasectomy?
You’ll probably need to wait about 10 days after the procedure before having sex. Some men wait a little longer.
You’ll still need to use a condom or other birth control methods for at least three months after the procedure, because there may still be some sperm in your semen. You’ll need to submit a semen sample for testing in a lab 10 to 12 weeks after the vasectomy procedure to check that it no longer contains sperm.
Will a vasectomy change my sex life?
After the immediate post-procedural recovery, your sexual function and sex drive should be the same. You’ll still ejaculate semen as you always have. Eventually, the semen won’t have sperm in it, but you won't be able to notice a difference.
Once a semen test shows no sperm in your semen, you won’t have to worry about birth control. It’s effective enough that you won’t need to use other forms of birth control—although it’s important to remember that even after a successful vasectomy, there is still a very small (about 1 in 2,000) risk for an unplanned pregnancy.
It’s also important to know that a vasectomy does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases. If you’re concerned about getting or spreading STDs, you’ll still need to wear a condom during sex.
What if I have a vasectomy and then change my mind and want it reversed?
A vasectomy is meant to be permanent. Some vasectomies can be surgically reversed, but reversals don’t always work, and they’re much more expensive than the vasectomy itself. So you should be very sure that a vasectomy is the right choice for you before you have one.
How do I decide if having a vasectomy is the right choice?
You’ll need to be sure you’re comfortable making a choice that is meant to be permanent. You should discuss your decision with your partner so that you both understand how a vasectomy will affect your lives.
And you should have a discussion with a doctor about whether a vasectomy is right for you.
Schedule an appointment to discuss your vasectomy with a UI Health Care provider.
Call 1-800-777-8442 now or request an appointment online.