Talking to Your Partner About Getting a Vasectomy

Convincing a man that a vasectomy is a simple surgery with lasting results can be a difficult sell. However, it’s the honest truth. The procedure, which can be performed in your doctor’s office, is relatively painless and quick. It only takes about 40 minutes and is much less invasive and uncomfortable for a man than it is for a woman to receive a tubal ligation. It’s also less expensive and offers the possibility that it can be reversed.

While the fact seem clear, convincing your partner might be a challenge, but presenting the details that are involved with a vasectomy will help in determining whether or not the procedure is the best choice of birth control for you and your partner. If you do hope to talk to your partner about getting a vasectomy, here are some talking points to jump start the conversation.

What is a vasectomy and is it effective?

Vasectomy is a permanent form of birth control in which the two tubes that transfer sperm are snipped and sealed. When the vas deferens are sealed and snipped, sperm is blocked so that it isn’t ejaculated along with semen. Testicles continue to manufacture sperm following a vasectomy, but the body absorbs them. Less than three women in a thousand will get pregnant following their partner’s vasectomy making it the most effective form of birth control, that is, aside from abstinence.

How many men choose vasectomy as a form of birth control?

There is strength in numbers. It may be comforting to know that in the United States 500,000 men choose to have a vasectomy every year.

What to Expect

A man will visit a doctor’s office for the procedure, though a vasectomy may also be performed in a hospital. The procedure will be completed under local anesthesia after the scrotum is cleaned and shaved. The scrotum will receive a small scalpel cut by the urologist, but not more than one or two. The tubes are gently pulled through the cuts to be snipped, then tied and sealed with heat. Once the vas deferens are snipped and sealed, they are then placed back inside the scrotum and the small cuts on the scrotum are stitched closed. The patient won’t have to have the stitches removed by a doctor; the stitches will dissolve.

What does the recovery period look like?

Following the surgery, the patient’s scrotum will be numb. Cold packs and over-the-counter pain medication will help to relieve the discomfort. It is recommended that the patient wear tight underwear or a jockstrap to ease any pain. Discomfort can last a few days following the procedure. Avoid lifting heavy objects for a week, however, if desired you may return to work within a day or two.

Does this procedure affect an erection?

The after effects of a vasectomy, in regards to sexual performance, are generally unchanged. With most vasectomies, there are no problems with erection.

How long before we can be sexually active?

There’s no time restriction on when sexual activity may resume; it totally depends on how comfortable the patient is. Know however that sperm may remain in the semen and it’s still possible to become pregnant. Semen is free of sperm up to three months following surgery, though this may vary from one man to the other. Your urologist will test your sperm count. When the sperm count is zero, it is safe for the patient to engage in sexual activity without the use of additional birth control.

What can we expect, permanence-wise?

A vasectomy is a birth control method that is considered to be permanent, though the procedure can be reversed. Still, there are no promises that the reversal will be a success and that pregnancy will be possible following surgery. It is very important that a couple is absolutely certain concerning the decision to have a vasectomy.

Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg of Urology Specialists of Milford is a preeminent urologist in New England. Board certified and Harvard trained, he has been practicing urology since 1992. Dr. Steinberg treats general urological disorders in both men and women, including kidney stones and cancer. As a men’s health expert, he treats prostate enlargement, male sexual dysfunction, and male infertility. Dr. Steinberg is a recipient of the 2017 Castle Connelly “Top Doctor’s Award” and has a 5-star rating on Health Grades.

To make an appointment with Dr. Steinberg, please call (508) 473-6333. We look forward to welcoming you to our practice.