The decision to undergo a vasectomy shouldn’t be taken lightly. Talking it over with your partner can help resolve issues and concerns on both sides and ensure cooperation and support both before and after the procedure.
Consider that while you may not want children now, your life may take some unforeseen detours in the future, and your feelings may change. Additional factors to consider include the current and future state of your financial, personal, health, and relationship circumstances. Those who have decided to go this route should understand the benefits and risks involved.
In general, a vasectomy is a minimally invasive, permanent, and effective form of birth control for men. Couples who have decided not to have any more children may find a vasectomy to be a cost-effective choice for them.
A vasectomy is a straightforward procedure. Either a scalpel or no-scalpel technique is performed under anesthetic. The scrotum is cut, and the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra) are cut and closed, preventing sperm from passing from the testicles. It is a relatively minor surgery usually performed in a doctor’s office. The entire process takes about an hour, from preparation to completion; the actual tying of the tubes takes just 10 minutes.
Sperm production continues after a vasectomy, although the sperm is not released through ejaculation. Instead, sperm remains inside the testicles and are reabsorbed into the body.
Common Reasons for a Vasectomy
The most obvious reason for a vasectomy is to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, especially if alternative birth control methods are not appropriate or desirable.
For example, a medical condition may prevent your partner from taking certain birth control medications, or you may wish to spare your partner a tubal litigation, which is an invasive, complicated and dangerous surgery that carries a higher risk and failure rate than a vasectomy.
But vasectomies may be undergone for reasons other than not wanting (anymore) children, including that a pregnancy may be dangerous or even life-threatening for your partner, or to avoid passing on a hereditary disease, genetic disorder, or disability.
Benefits of Undergoing a Vasectomy
Affordable. A vasectomy is relatively easy on the wallet, even if not covered by insurance. Vasectomies cost about $1,000 to $2,000 and insurance will likely cover some of that cost.
Effective. Vasectomies carry a less-than-1-percent failure rate. That’s more effective than condoms, birth control pills, or other prophylactic methods. When compared with tubal ligation or other surgical methods, a vasectomy is generally the most effective. Only 1 in 2,000 men who have undergone the procedure report failure. If you are worried about it, annual semen exams may help put your mind to rest.
Low Risk. All surgeries carry some risk, but because vasectomies are minimally invasive and usually uncomplicated, there is only a 2 to 3 percent chance of infection, bleeding, or pain. Ten percent of men experience pain resulting from the accumulation of sperm before the vasectomy. Studies have determined there is no significant risk of prostate or testicular cancer following a vasectomy.
Quick Recovery. Getting back on your feet after the procedure is relatively quick and simple. Seven to 10 days is the standard time for full recovery.
Reversible. Although it is technically true that the process can be reversed, it should only be used as a last resort. Vasectomies are considered a permanent procedure. Undergoing a vasectomy reversal is costly and may not be 100 percent successful. Insurance rarely covers a vasectomy reversal. If you want a vasectomy but think you may still want kids in the future, freezing your sperm before the surgery is an option.
Sexual Function Remains. In the absence of any other complications, the sexual function continues as normal because the procedure does not involve the penis and there is no change in a man’s hormone production levels as a result of a vasectomy. As a birth control choice, a vasectomy simplifies sex and can make it feel more spontaneous and liberating.
To learn more about vasectomies, call Urology Specialists of Milford at (508) 473-6333or simply go online to request an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg.