Thinking about getting a vasectomy? That’s great. Vasectomies are simple, remarkably safe, and incredibly effective at preventing pregnancy. They’re also meant to be permanent, so you should be sure you don’t want children in the future. Take a moment to review the following information to decide whether or not a vasectomy is an appropriate form of contraception for you.

What is a vasectomy?

Firstly, let’s understand how sperm is produced. The testicles produce sperm, then the sperm is transported to the prostate through tubes called the vas deferens. It is at this point that the vas deferens joins with the seminal vesicle and forms the ejaculatory duct. During ejaculation, seminal fluid mixes with sperm to form semen.

During the vasectomy procedure, your urologist will snip and seal the vas deferens—ensuring that no sperm can travel through them any longer. No sperm, no fertilization, no pregnancy. Simple.

How is a vasectomy performed?

Your vasectomy will be performed in your urologist’s office under local anesthesia, so you’ll barely feel it happening. The procedure takes about 30 minutes.

We also offer the option to have the vasectomy within the hospital or at an ambulatory surgery center if you would like intravenous sedation during the procedure. This can be done for several reasons, including anxiety, and can be discussed at the consultation.

What should I expect on the day of the procedure?

On the day of the procedure, you will arrive and be asked to sign a surgical consent form, then you will be brought into the procedure room. Once the surgical area has been cleaned, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area to ensure no pain is felt during the procedure. 

The urologist will then access the vas deferens by making a very small incision in the skin. The vas deferens will be cut, then each end will be sealed. Once the incision has been stitched up, you’ll be free to head home.

What should I expect after a vasectomy?

Head home after the procedure, kick back, and take it easy. You should plan to take a week off from strenuous exercise or physical labor. With the help of some ice packs and a couple pain relievers, you’ll be at 100% in no time. Swelling and discomfort may occur, but can be minimized by placing an ice pack on the surgical area and by wearing supportive underwear.

Is a vasectomy effective immediately?

Although the vas deferens have been cut, there still can be sperm in your system for several months. You’ll want to hold off on having unprotected sex until you’ve confirmed you have no sperm by completing a semen analysis three months after your procedure. You’ll be given a Fellow test kit at your vasectomy consult. The price of the kit is $139 and you can learn more about the Fellow’s Vasectomy Test by watching the video below.

Are there any risks associated with a vasectomy?

Although most vasectomies encounter no issues, there are risks with any surgical procedure.  

  • There is the risk of bleeding into the scrotum. If you notice a significant increase in the size of your scrotum or significant scrotal discomfort, you should contact your urologist immediately. 
  • Fever, scrotal redness, or tenderness should also be evaluated by your urologist as this may indicate an infection. Discomfort is usually minimal and should respond to mild analgesics. More severe pain may indicate infection or other complications. 
  • Some will experience mild lower abdominal discomfort similar to what one would experience from getting hit in the genitalia. 
  • A benign lump, or granuloma, may develop because there is a leakage of sperm from the cut end of the vas into the scrotal tissues. It may occasionally be painful or sensitive to touch or pressure.
  • Post-vasectomy pain syndrome is a chronic pain syndrome that follows vasectomy. The cause of this syndrome and its incidence are unclear. It is generally treated with anti-inflammatory agents. 

Discuss these risks with your urologist prior to the procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can my partner tell if I have had a vasectomy?

There is no significant change in one’s semen after a vasectomy since the sperm contributes a small amount to the overall volume. Your partner may be able to feel the vasectomy site.

Will my orgasm be altered by having a vasectomy?

Ejaculation and orgasm are generally not affected by vasectomy. The rare exception to this is for those who have developed post-vasectomy pain syndrome.

Can I become impotent after a vasectomy?

An uncomplicated vasectomy cannot cause impotence, and most vasectomies don’t experience any complications.

Can a vasectomy fail?

For the first several months, sperm will still be present in your semen, so you’ll need to use contraception until you’ve confirmed there is no sperm present. Once you’ve tested and confirmed there’s no sperm, there is a small chance that a vasectomy may fail.

What if I change my mind after I’ve gotten my vasectomy?

Some people choose to freeze their sperm, also known as cryopreservation, prior to a vasectomy in case they want to conceive at a later time. If you don’t freeze your sperm, you will require an additional procedure called a vasectomy reversal, in which the urologist will surgically reconnect the vas deferens. Alternatively, sperm can be extracted from the testicle and utilized for in vitro fertilization. Both of these procedures are costly and may or may not be covered by insurance. Additionally, they are not successful 100 percent of the time. Therefore, if you’re getting a vasectomy, you should be very confident that you don’t want to conceive at a later time.

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