Vasectomy is a form of male birth control that cuts the supply of sperm to your semen. It's done by cutting and sealing the tubes that carry sperm. Vasectomy is straightforward and has a low risk of problems. Before getting a vasectomy, however, you need to be certain you don't want to father a child in the future. Vasectomy is considered a permanent form of male birth control.
Why it's done
Vasectomy is a good birth control choice for men who are certain they don't want to father a child.
For most men, a vasectomy doesn't cause any noticeable side effects, and serious complications are rare.
Side effects right after surgery can include:
Delayed complications can include:
Desire to father children after a vasectomy
How you prepare
Some family medicine or general practice doctors do vasectomies, but most are done by doctors who specialize in the male reproductive system (urologists).
Insurance companies vary on their coverage of vasectomies, so check your policy ahead of time. Some doctors and insurance companies require a waiting period between your first meeting with the doctor and surgery.
Talking to your doctor
At the initial appointment (consultative visit) be prepared to discuss:
What you can expect
A vasectomy is usually done at a doctor's office or surgery center under local anesthesia, which means you'll be awake and have medicine to numb the surgery area.
In a vasectomy, the tube that carries sperm from each testicle (vas deferens) is cut and sealed. ...
A vasectomy doesn't provide immediate protection against pregnancy. Use an alternative form of birth control until your doctor confirms there are no sperm in your semen. Before having unprotected sex, you'll need to wait up to eight weeks or longer and ejaculate 20 times or more to clear any sperm from your semen.
Most doctors do post-surgery checks at six and eight weeks following surgery to be certain that no sperm are present. You'll need to give your doctor sperm samples to examine. To produce a sperm sample, your doctor will have you masturbate into a container or ask you to have intercourse using a special condom to collect your semen. Your semen is then examined under a microscope to see whether sperm are present.
If you're not in a committed relationship, use condoms during sex — even after you have a vasectomy. Vasectomy is an effective form of birth control, but it won't protect you or your partner from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia or HIV/AIDS.
Last Updated: 2011-02-10
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