Contraception Sterilization Vasectomy

For a man who is sure he no longer wants to father children, a vasectomy is a permanent form of birth control. The vasectomy procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes in a doctor’s office, and costs between $500 and $1000. Many insurance plans will pay for this vasectomy cost.

After a vasectomy, sperm is prevented from reaching the semen, preventing pregnancy via sexual intercourse. Two tubes, called the “vas deferens,” carry the sperm from the testicles into the ejaculatory ducts. During a vasectomy procedure, these tubes are cut so that sperm can no longer get into the semen.

Vasectomy Procedure

During a traditional vasectomy procedure, the doctor numbs the scrotum with a local anesthetic and then makes a tiny incision in its front surface. Once the vas deferens is identified and extracted, the doctor cauterizes (burns) it, or clips and ties it off, and places it back into the scrotum.

Vasectomy Procedure - Sterilization

A newer vasectomy procedure, now widely used, is the “no-scalpel vasectomy.” During this procedure, the doctor feels for the vas deferens under the skin of the scrotum and holds it in place with a small clamp. The doctor then makes a tiny puncture in the skin and stretches the opening so that he can cut and tie the vas deferens. Compared to a traditional vasectomy, this procedure has:

  • Fewer complications
  • Fewer vasectomy side effects
  • Less pain
  • Little bleeding
  • No stitches.

After a vasectomy, you should use other forms of birth control until a sperm count confirms your semen contains no sperm, which usually takes about one to three months.

Vasectomy Side Effects

Serious vasectomy side effects or complications are rare. Immediately after a vasectomy, you may experience swelling or bruising of your scrotum. Some discomfort for a couple of days is normal, and you can use ice and painkillers if needed. Other possible side effects are:

  • Bleeding or a blood clot inside the scrotum
  • Blood in the semen
  • Infection.

After a vasectomy, the most common condition is a local inflammation of the epididymis or testis, called “epididymitis/orchitis.” This condition usually occurs in the first year after surgery, and clears up quickly with heat treatment.

Some men develop immune reactions involving anti-sperm antibodies after a vasectomy. Current medical evidence indicates that these antibodies are not harmful. Another concern has been prostate cancer after vasectomy, but again, current medical consensus is that there’s no link with prostate cancer.

Vasectomy Considerations

The benefits of the vasectomy procedure include more spontaneous sex without risk of pregnancy. However, after a vasectomy, you’re still not protected from STDs such as HIV.

The vasectomy procedure is considered one of the most effective methods of birth control, along with abstinence. According to FamilyDoctor.org, about 15 out of 10,000 couples become pregnant in the first year after a vasectomy, and the risk of pregnancy decreases after the first year.

Choosing the vasectomy procedure is a major decision, and should be made only if you’re sure you don’t want more children. Although reversal procedures are available, but tend to be expensive and, according to the Mayo Clinic, are successful only about 50 percent of the time.

Resources

American Academy of Family Physicians Staff. (n.d.). Vasectomy: What to expect. Retrieved February 9, 2010, from the Family Doctor Web site: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/men/reproductive/195.html.

E-medilink Holdings Ltd Staff. (n.d.). Vasectomy cost. Retrieved February 9, 2010, from the Vasectomy Medical Web site: http://www.vasectomymedical.com/vasectomy-cost.html.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.). Vasectomy reversal. Retrieved February 9, 2010, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vasectomy-reversal/MY00326.