What Is Vasectomy?
Vasectomy is a form of birth control for men that is meant to be permanent.
During vasectomy, a health care provider closes or blocks the tubes that carry sperm. When the tubes are closed, sperm cannot leave a man’s body and cause pregnancy.
How Does Vasectomy Work?
Sperm are made in the testicles. They pass through two tubes called the vasa deferentia to other glands and mix with seminal fluids to form semen. Vasectomy blocks each vas deferens and keeps sperm out of the seminal fluid. The sperm are absorbed by the body instead of being ejaculated. Without sperm, your “cum” (ejaculate) cannot cause pregnancy.
How Effective Is Vasectomy?
Effectiveness is an important and common concern when choosing a birth control method. Vasectomy is the most effective birth control for men. It is nearly 100 percent effective.
However, vasectomy is not immediately effective. Sperm remains beyond the blocked tubes. You must use other birth control until the sperm are used up. It usually takes about three months. A simple test — semen analysis — shows when there are no more sperm in your ejaculate.
How Is Semen Analysis Done?
You will provide a sample of your semen by masturbating or by using a special condom during sexual intercourse. The semen will be examined under a microscope to see if there are any sperm.
Very rarely, tubes grow back together again and pregnancy may occur. This happens in about 1 out of 1,000 cases.
Keep in mind that vasectomy offers no protection against sexually transmitted infection. Sexually transmitted infections can be carried in ejaculate, whether or not it contains sperm. Latex or female condoms can reduce your risk of infection.
What Are the Benefits of Vasectomy?
Vasectomy is safe and, because it lasts for life, it is simple and convenient. It allows women and men to enjoy sex without worrying about pregnancy.
Vasectomy does not change your hormones or masculinity. And it will not affect your ability to get and stay erect. It also will not affect your sex organs, sexuality, and sexual pleasure. No glands or organs are removed or altered. Your hormones and sperm continue being produced. Your ejaculate will look just like it always did. And there will be about the same amount as before.
Vasectomy may be right for you if:
- You want to enjoy having sex without causing pregnancy.
- You don’t want to have a child biologically in the future.
- Other methods are unacceptable.
- You don’t want to pass on a hereditary illness or disability.
- Your partner’s health would be threatened by a future pregnancy.
- You and your partner have concerns about the side effects of other methods.
- You and your partner agree that your family is complete, and no more children are wanted.
- You want to spare your partner the surgery and expense of tubal sterilization — sterilization for women is more complicated and costly.