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Male Birth Control: What You Need to Know About Getting a Vasectomy

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner


Written by Elaine Felicitas · Updated Feb 16, 2023

Male Birth Control: What You Need to Know About Getting a Vasectomy

When it comes to contraceptives, the majority of the options available are for women. Along with condoms, vasectomy is one of the few birth control options for men. Knowing more about it makes it easier for people to decide which is beneficial for their needs.

What is a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a low-risk surgical procedure that is a form of permanent contraception. It is 99% effective in preventing pregnancies. However, it is not instantaneous and would need a few months before it takes permanent effect. It also does not prevent sexually transmitted infections.

After a vasectomy, men are still able to produce sperm cells but these will not be included in the semen. This is because the tube connecting to the testicles is cut. The sperm cells will instead be absorbed by the body.

Common misconceptions about vasectomies include:

  • The operation will affect the man’s sexual desire
  • It will cause diseases
  • The procedure will cause cancer

Vasectomies do not do any of these things.

What Happens During a Vasectomy?

It takes around 20 to 40 minutes to complete a vasectomy. Doctors use local anesthetics to numb the skin of the man’s scrotum. The vas deferens or the tubes that connect the testicle to the urethra are cut and sealed. The process is done so that the sperm created in the testicles remains there and does not travel to the urethra. He is still able to ejaculate but it will not contain any sperm after the operation.

There are 2 types of vasectomy:

Conventional

In a conventional vasectomy, doctors create incisions to the scrotum to be able to cut and seal the tubes.

No-scalpel

In a no-scalpel vasectomy, doctors use a tool that punctures the scrotum instead of creating slits. It makes healing faster and has less bleeding and scarring compared to a conventional vasectomy.

When Do You Consider a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy is an important decision for men as it means that they won’t be able to father a child in the future. Here are some of the reasons why they may consider going through a vasectomy:

  • Permanent and hassle-free birth control method
  • Genetic disorder which they don’t want their child to inherit
  • Complications for the partner make it unsafe to have a child
  • 100% sure that he does not want a child now or in the future

Should there be any changes in the decision, there are other methods that can enable a man to have children even after undergoing vasectomy.

  • Reversing a vasectomy is an option, but there’s no guarantee that it will be work
  • IVF or in vitro fertilization where the sperm is collected directly from the testicles.
  • Risks and Complications of Having a Vasectomy

    The risk of having a vasectomy is when you are still able to father a child even after the operation. Vasectomy does not provide immediate birth control as there may be sperm cells within the urethra. It is required to ejaculate 15 to 20 times and have your doctor confirm that there are no traces of sperm in the semen. It may take several months to complete this.

    There are several complications that are uncommon and are less serious. These include:

    Chronic pain

    This may take a few days or weeks to subside. This occurs to 1 to 2% of men after the procedure.

    Sperm granuloma or lump in the scrotum

    This is caused by leaking sperm when the tube is cut. This can cause discomfort but it goes away after a while and is absorbed into the body.

    Congestion in the testicle

    This may occur because of sperm buildup. However, this goes away a few weeks after the operation.

    Spermatocele

    This is a cyst formed in the epididymis or tube that collects the sperm cell.

    Hydrocele

    This is fluid surrounding the testicles which can cause swelling in the scrotum.

    Key Takeaway

    A vasectomy is a big decision for men as it will affect whether they will be able to have children. However, it’s a low-risk procedure. Before undergoing the procedure, it is important to discuss this with your partner and make sure to consult with your doctor.

    Learn more about Contraception here.

    Disclaimer

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

    General Practitioner


    Written by Elaine Felicitas · Updated Feb 16, 2023

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