Is a vasectomy right for you?
Maybe you’ve decided you’ll never want kids or maybe you and your partner are ready to stop having children. How do you know if a vasectomy is the right choice – and is your decision permanent? Urologist Laurence O’Connor, MD, answered questions to help you understand this form of birth control.
What is a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a safe and effective surgical procedure for permanent birth control in men. It can be done with a small incision on each side of the scrotum or with a no-scalpel approach where no incision is made and a needle is used to make a small hole for access. The procedure involves cutting the supply of sperm to the semen by blocking, cutting or sealing the tubes that carry the sperm, the vas deferens. The procedure is outpatient and is performed under local anesthesia, taking under 15 minutes.
Is a vasectomy instant birth control?
The procedure does not provide instant birth control. “Sperm remain in the vas deferens for up to 8 weeks. You cannot be considered sterile until a semen sample is examined 8–12 weeks after the procedure,” said Dr. O’Connor.
What is the recovery like for a vasectomy?
Dr. O’Connor said the recovery for a vasectomy is minimal, but you do want to be sure you:
- Limit activities for 48 hours.
- Apply an ice pack.
- Wear tight underwear.
- Avoid sexual activity for one week.
What are the risks?
A vasectomy is a very low risk procedure, but complications can occur such as bleeding, infection and pain. “The no-scalpel technique has a much lower complication rate,” said Dr. O’Connor.
Can a vasectomy be reversed?
Dr. O’Connor said in many cases, yes, a vasectomy can be reversed, but it should be considered a permanent choice. A reversal is expensive and success is not guaranteed.
Will a vasectomy protect me from sexually transmitted infections?
A vasectomy will not protect you or your partner from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). “It is important that you continue to use other forms of protection such as condoms to protect you from STIs, even after a vasectomy,” said Dr. O’Connor.
“The decision to have a vasectomy should not be taken lightly. If you are considering a vasectomy it is important to talk to your doctor and discuss your options with your partner,” said Dr. O’Connor.
Find a doctor
The best time to schedule a new patient visit is while you’re well. Find a provider who’s right for you by browsing their profiles.Let Us Help