A vasectomy is a form of birth control used by males. It’s permanent, and involves having tubes cut in the male reproductive system to prevent sperm from joining with semen. If there’s no sperm, an egg cannot be fertilised, and therefore you don’t get any babies. It’s not harmful for the male in any way because the sperm is eventually absorbed back into the body, which is what happens anyway after a prolonged period with no ejaculation.
One of the most important things to remember about vasectomies is that sperm will still be there for at least a few months! That means that even right after a vasectomy you could still get pregnant. You have to use another birth control method until a sperm count comes back as zero.
What to Expect with a Vasectomy
First your testicles will be cleaned and given a topical antiseptic to keep away infection. Then, you’ll usually receive a sedative to get rid of some of your anxiety. A vasectomy isn’t necessarily painful, but any guy will tell you the thought of it is painful enough. The surgeon will then locate the vas deferens, which is the sperm transport tube that runs between the testicles and penis.
Once located, you’ll be given a local anesthetic in the area and the surgeon will make a small incision to slice the vas deferens in half. The tube is then tied or sealed in some way, and you are stitched back up. It only takes about 30 minutes to go through the whole procedure, and it can be performed just about anywhere.
After the Vasectomy
For the next few hours the general area of the vasectomy will be numb, which eventually tapers away into a slight generalized pain or feeling of discomfort. It’s usually recommended that you apply an ice pack to the scrotum for the next day and avoid lying on your stomach. You should be able to get back to work after a day or two, but if you have a strenuous job you should wait for at least a week.
As soon as it doesn’t hurt you can go back to having sex, but remember you still have to use another form of birth control, usually for at least 2 more months. Eventually your sperm count will settle down to zero and you should be good for the rest of your life. A vasectomy is permanent unless intentionally reversed.
How Effective is a Vasectomy?
Vasectomies are one of the most effective forms of birth control, but since nothing is perfect they’re still considered only about 99.85% effective. Usually only 1 out of 1,000 women will get pregnant after their partner’s have a vasectomy.
It requires roughly 20 ejaculations before all the sperm is cleared out of the tubes and testicles after a vasectomy. Every now and then you’ll get what’s known as a spontaneous reconnection of the tubes, which is when one end opens again, but it’s extremely rare.
Infection is one of the only complications you will need to worry about, although if one end of the vas deferens opens again, sperm can accumulate in the tissue surrounding the opening and form a lump. This is not dangerous, and will not cause you to be fertile again.
Where do I get a vasectomy?
Some local GP’s will do the procedure in their surgery. If not most can refer you to a reproductive specialist. Best of all, there is even a small rebate back from Medicare on the procedure!