Vasectomies 101: Everything You Need To Know About This Male Birth Control Procedure

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What is a vasectomy? A vasectomy, also known as male sterilization, is a form of birth control in which the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the semen are blocked or cut so that ejaculations no longer carry sperm, preventing conception during sexual intercourse. Vasectomies are generally more effective than female sterilization and much safer than other forms of birth control, so they’re one of the best options available if you’re committed to avoiding pregnancy. Learn more about this simple procedure below!

What Is It?

A vasectomy is a safe and effective form of birth control that works by preventing sperm from joining with an egg. During a vasectomy, a doctor will block or seal off your testicles’ tubes, called vas deferens. The surgery only takes about 30 minutes and is performed in an outpatient setting under general anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain during or after. And, it’s reversible — a small incision is made in your scrotum, and either 1) both ends of your vas deferens are snipped off;

2) one end is removed while that remaining end is reconnected, or

3) part of each vas deference is removed.

Who Can Get A Vasectomy?

While female sterilization—known as tubal ligation—is much more common, a vasectomy is not just for married men. In fact, nearly half of all men who choose birth control opt for a vasectomy, making it an increasingly popular alternative to condoms or other contraceptive methods. If you are in a stable relationship and know that you are done having children (either because of your financial situation or personal preferences), then getting a vasectomy might be right for you. Find out if your insurance plan covers sterilization procedures and schedule an appointment with your doctor today.

How Does It Work?

Vasectomy involves cutting and sealing off or tying and cutting each of two tubes (the vas deferens) that carry sperm from the testes. The procedure blocks sperm from leaving your body during ejaculation. It can also be used to tie or cut both tubes, which is called a bilateral vasectomy. During a vasectomy, a doctor will either block one or both of these tubes with clamps or an electrical current so that sperm can’t get through.

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The Recovery Time:

Most men return to their normal routines within a day or two. Sex can be resumed immediately. Although it’s possible for men who have undergone a vasectomy to continue fathering children, it’s not a good idea to try any sooner than three months after having surgery. That’s because, at that point, sperm levels are typically so low that pregnancy would be highly unlikely even if semen were somehow deposited into a vagina. Vasectomies have very high success rates—only about 1 percent of procedures fail, making them one of the most effective forms of contraception available.

Are There Any Risks?

Although vasectomy is one of the most effective methods of birth control available, it does carry some risks. The procedure can cause bruising, tenderness, and swelling in and around your scrotum for a few days after surgery. There’s also a small chance you could become sterile—meaning no sperm at all—after your surgery. That side effect will go away if fertility returns on its own (which it will in 98 out of 100 cases), but otherwise you might need to try IVF if you ever want children someday. Regardless of whether or not that happens, you shouldn’t have any complications for about five years after surgery…it just depends on how long it takes for your body to start producing sperm again naturally. In other words: It should be pretty safe!

How Much Does It Cost?

The procedure itself typically costs about $1,000, according to Planned Parenthood. If it’s not covered by insurance, you’ll have additional costs for your anesthesia and follow-up checkups. It’s important to note that vasectomy is not reversible; once you’ve had one done, you cannot get your sperm back—and that’s a fact you should make sure your partner understands before scheduling any appointments with a doctor. But if both of you are ready for a long-term birth control solution and are in agreement about having children in future years, getting a vasectomy can be an excellent way for men to share responsibility for birth control—though it’s still incredibly important for women to take charge of their own contraception as well!

Pros And Cons Of Getting A Vasectomy:

A vasectomy is effective birth control that will keep you from having kids even after you have sex. That said, it’s a permanent procedure, so you should really know if it’s right for you before you decide to get one. Before having a vasectomy, talk with your partner and medical professional about it. For instance, your doctor might recommend that you wait until after at least two years of unprotected sex with a condom (and other forms of birth control) before getting a vasectomy in order to be sure there isn’t any chance you could impregnate someone else. Other cons include potential pain during recovery and risk of infection or complications during or after surgery.

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