What is  vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that makes a man sterile, or unable to get a woman pregnant. It is generally considered to be at least as effective as female sterilization and is simpler to perform, safer, and less costly.

What is the procedure for a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is done by blocking the tube, called the vas deferens, through which sperm normally pass from each testicle on the way to the seminal vesicle, forming semen.

After numbing the scrotum and making one or two small openings in it, the surgeon cuts each vas deferens (possibly removing a small section of it as well). He or she will then close one or both cut ends of the tubes with stitches or other techniques, and, if needed, close the opening(s) in the scrotum with stitches. The “no-scalpel vasectomy” technique relies on small puncture holes made in the scrotum that do not need stitches.

The surgery usually takes no more than 30 minutes, after which time almost all men go home the same day. In most cases, recovery takes less than a week.

How effective is a vasectomy?

Vasectomy is very effective. It has been estimated that only about 15 out of 10,000 couples get pregnant during the first year after a vasectomy. Although rare, pregnancy is possible even years after the procedure.

Although some men have been able to have their vasectomies reversed (undone), this process involves expensive, major surgery, and success cannot be guaranteed. Therefore a vasectomy is considered appropriate for those who desire a permanent form of birth control.

It is also important to remember that vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDS. Men who have had vasectomy should still practice safe sex to avoid STDs.

Will a vasectomy work right away?

Although a man can have sex again within a few days of a vasectomy, he is not protected against getting a woman pregnant until all of his semen is free of sperm.

It is important to have your semen tested by your health care provider to make sure there are no sperm left before having unprotected sex.

What are the risks of a vasectomy?

Vasectomy is considered to be a safe, minor surgical procedure, but, like any form of surgery, there are some possible risks. These risks include infection, bleeding, and pain. If you have questions about vasectomy risks, talk to your health care provider.




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