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 that means there are no babies. It’s not harmful for the man 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.
What to Expect with a Vasectomy
First your testicles will be cleaned, shaved and given a topical antiseptic to keep away infection. Vasectomies are usually done under a local anaesthetic, but some men do choose to go under a general anaesthetic for any number of reasons. The surgeon will then locate the vas deferens, which is the sperm transport tube that runs between the testicles and penis.
Once the vans deferns has been located, there are a few potential ways the procedure could go. The surgeon may choose to cut and tie the vans deferens, or they may take a small piece from each vans deferens, or they may cut and then seal the vans deferens shut with heat. In most cases it only takes about 30 minutes to go through the whole procedure, and it can be performed just about anywhere.
Now, it is important to remember that although a man will not be fertile if he has a vasectomy, men will still be able to make male hormones, enjoy sex and reach orgasm. There will also not be that much difference in the ejaculation output, as sperm only make up a small portion of semen.
After the Vasectomy
For a few hours the general area of the vasectomy will be numb, which eventually tapers away into a slight generalized pain or feeling of discomfort. The scrotum will likely be bruised and tender following the operation, and men should rest for a few days. Activities like running, swimming or other strenuous movement should be avoided in the early days, and sex should be avoided for a few days. 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 in the majority of cases 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.
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.
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.
Reversing A Vasectomy
Men usually choose to have a vasectomy when he and his partner have decided not to have children, or not to have any more children. However in some cases, particularly if the man has started a new relationship, he may want to have another child with his new partner. In this instance he might seek a vasectomy reversal.
Vasectomies can be reversed, but not in all cases. The chance of a successful reversal depend on when the vasectomy was done and how it was done. The longer it has been since the vasectomy, the less likely the sperm will function normally. It is for this reason that doctors often recommend men store some of their sperm prior to having a vasectomy at a sperm bank. That way if circumstances change the future, it’s still possible to father more children.
Where do I get a vasectomy?
Some local GPs will do the procedure in their surgery. If not most can refer you to a reproductive specialist, family planning, or a vasectomy clinic. Best of all, there is even a small rebate back from Medicare on the procedure!