Vasectomy Overview

Vasectomy is a procedure that produces permanent sterilization for men. Sterilization is when the man is no longer fertile and is no longer able to father children. This procedure can be a safe, effective and relatively inexpensive solution for a couple more a single man who wants a permanent solution for contraception.

Prior to performing a vasectomy, it is important to have a counseling visit with your doctor to talk about what vasectomy is.  Also you should review the issues a man needs to consider when he is contemplating having vasectomy. Finally you will need to receive the instructions from your doctor how to prepare for having this procedure.

Vasectomy is a procedure that produces permanent sterilization for men. This is a relatively straightforward procedure that can be performed in a doctor’s office. The procedure takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour and causes minimal discomfort for the patient. The procedure is performed by making one small puncture wound in the scrotum, which is the sac below the penis that contains the testicles and the vas deferens tubes which carry the sperm from the testicles to the prostate. During the procedure, a small piece of each vas deferens is removed which prevents sperm from traveling to the prostate gland and released during orgasm. This is what prevents conception and pregnancy from occurring.

In general vasectomy is more than 99% effective at preventing future pregnancies. No form of contraception is completely effective and failures can occur after vasectomy but fortunately, this is rare. The doctor who performs your vasectomy will need to check for sperm in semen samples that you will provide several weeks after your procedure. Once the semen specimens are found to be free of sperm, your doctor will notify you of the success of your surgery. Until that time a man is recommended to use an alternate form of contraception to avoid accidental pregnancy.

As  mentioned earlier, this procedure is to be considered more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Sperm continue to be produced in the testicles. After the procedure sperm is stored in the epididymis which is a small organ on top of the testicle and these cells eventually dissolve and are absorbed by the body. This does not cause any problems for the man.

There are some complications that have been shown to be associated with this procedure.  One complication is the failure of the procedure to bring about sterilization, allowing for unwanted pregnancies.  Also, in less than 5% of men a small blood vessel may continue to bleed producing a blood clot or we call a hematoma within the scrotum. Most of these hematomas resolve on their own but some require additional treatment. Infection is a rare complication of this procedure. A few men develop chronic aching in the scrotum or sometimes a tender nodule called a sperm granuloma can develop. These are some longer-term discomforts after the procedure but these usually go away with time.

Some men are concerned that vasectomy will affect their performance or enjoyment of sex. On the contrary the vasectomy procedure has been shown not to have any significant effect on erections , climaxes, ejaculations or other aspects of a sexual encounter. Some men may experience difficulty with erections after the surgery but this is usually a psychological problem and not a functional complication of the surgery.

Some men choose to have a procedure later in life to attempt to reverse a vasectomy. This procedure is performed by a specialist to reconnect  the vas deferens tubes that have been severed during vasectomy. Current techniques for reversal are approximately 60% effective. Because of this vasectomy should not be considered a reversible procedure and this method of birth control is discouraged unless you are certain you do not want to conceive children in the future. In that situation a couple is encouraged to consider other temporary birth control measures.

Some of the issues a man or a married couple should consider prior to permanent sterilization by vasectomy include the following :

1 –  Is your current relationship with your partner stable,

2 –  Do have problems with sexual functioning,

3 –  Do you have a religious conflict with vasectomy,

4 – Are  sure that you want to undergo a permanent procedure for contraception,

5 – Do you have plans or activities after the procedure that effect the timing of when to have the procedure performed.


Hopefully this information will help you to better understand the vasectomy procedure and possibly help you to make an informed decision about whether this is right for you and your partner.