Getting a Vasectomy: Things to Consider Before the Procedure
Once you and your partner have made the decision to refrain from having children, you have two options: temporary or permanent birth control. Although temporary methods can be very effective, couples that know they are done having children for good may be looking for a more permanent form of birth control, such as a vasectomy.
As is the case with any urological procedure, the decision to get a vasectomy is not one that should be made lightly. Take some time to weigh the pros and cons of a vasectomy and decide if this is the right choice for you and your partner. Here are some things to consider and discuss with your loved one before getting a vasectomy.
What is a Vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a simple, safe, and very effective form of male birth control that restricts the supply of sperm to your semen. Sperm, which is produced in the testicles, exits through two tubes called the vas deferens — mixing with other fluids to create semen. During a vasectomy, these tubes are cut and sealed to prevent sperm from leaving the body.
There are two types of vasectomies: the incision method and the no-scalpel method. During an incision vasectomy, your doctor will perform a few small incisions in your scrotum to access the vas deferens tubes. As the name suggests, the no-scalpel vasectomy doesn’t require any incisions. Instead, a small puncture will be made to reach both tubes.
Is a Vasectomy the Right Choice for Me?
Although a vasectomy is reversible, it is meant to be a permanent form of birth control. Therefore, it’s important to make sure this procedure is the right choice and that you and your partner won’t regret it down the road. Below are some other things to consider before deciding whether or not a vasectomy is right for you.
A vasectomy may be right for you if:
- Neither you nor your partner wants more children
- It’s risky or unhealthy for your partner to get pregnant
- You and/or your partner are carriers for genetic disorders that you don’t want to risk passing to children
A vasectomy may not be right for you if:
- You and your partner are still unsure about whether or not you want children
- You are interested in temporary birth control methods
Things to Consider Before Getting a Vasectomy
1. It is a simple, in-office procedure
A vasectomy is a simple procedure that takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete. It is typically performed under local anesthesia with pain medicine administered directly to your scrotum to numb the area. Once the anesthetic has set in, your doctor will make two small incisions in the scrotum — cutting and sealing each vas deferens tube to prevent any sperm from exiting the testicles. These incisions will naturally heal without additional stitches, making the recovery period relatively quick. After getting a vasectomy, most men should be able to return to work in two to three days and resume normal physical activity within a week.
Related: 5 Vasectomy Recovery Tips
2. It’s an effective birth control method
While no form of birth control is 100% effective, the risk of pregnancy after getting a vasectomy is only .15%. Meanwhile, the risk of pregnancy is approximately 7% using the pill and 13% with condoms — making a vasectomy much more effective than temporary birth control methods. If you and your partner know that you don’t want to get pregnant, and you don’t want to deal with the hassle and side effects of taking temporary birth control, then a vasectomy could be the right choice for you.
3. Getting a vasectomy won’t affect your sexual function
Getting a vasectomy should not decrease your sex drive or negatively impact your ability to have an erection or orgasm. In fact, most men can start having sex again within a week of getting a vasectomy. A male’s testes will continue to produce sperm and testosterone, while the prostate and seminal vesicles will keep producing semen. However, because the vas deferens tubes have been cut and blocked, your sperm will not travel from the testicles to the penis. Semen will still leave your body during ejaculation, but it won’t contain any sperm.
4. Sterilization doesn’t happen immediately
Although a vasectomy is effective, sterilization doesn’t happen immediately. Even after getting a vasectomy, there is a strong possibility that some sperm will remain in the upper portion of the vas deferens tubes. Your sperm count will begin to decrease gradually, taking approximately two to three months for your semen to be sperm-free after getting a vasectomy. To avoid unwanted pregnancy, you should continue using condoms or another form of birth control until a semen analysis has proven that your sperm count is zero.
5. A vasectomy should be a permanent decision
Although a vasectomy is technically reversible, having one performed is a serious decision that should be considered permanent. Whereas a vasectomy only takes 20 minutes to perform, a vasectomy reversal is a much more complicated procedure that can take four to six hours. However, there is still no guarantee that a vasectomy reversal will lead to pregnancy. Therefore, you should only consider getting a vasectomy if you are 100% certain that you won’t want kids in the future.
Related: What to Expect: Vasectomy Reversal
Getting a Vasectomy at Urology Specialists of the Carolinas
At the end of the day, there is no right answer when it comes to whether or not getting a vasectomy is the right choice for you and your partner. Sit down with your partner and weigh the pros and cons of a vasectomy compared to temporary birth control methods. More than anything, it is crucial for you and your partner to be on the same page as you work together to make this decision.
As always, speak with one of our urologists to learn more about getting a vasectomy and find out if this procedure is right for you. Once you have made your decision, or if you would like to further discuss your options, contact the Urology Specialists of the Carolinas to schedule an appointment.