Vasectomy Facts

1. Vasectomy is usually done in a doctor’s office or clinic, using a local anesthetic rather than general anesthesia.

In the vast majority of cases, a vasectomy is simple and safe, and if you use the most modern techniques, it is done without a scalpel (instead, a small hole is punctured with a special device). While most urologists should be able to do a vasectomy, in fact,  in many countries they’re done by family physicians and gynecologists, and in some countries, even trained nurses.

2. It does not result in immediate sterility.

You may still have viable sperm in your system for several weeks and even months after the procedure. To avoid unintended pregnancy, use an alternative birth control method until a semen analysis confirms no detectable motile sperm.

3. Major side effects from the procedure are unusual.

A little swelling and bruising at the incision area is to be expected. A pain reliever can help with any short-term pain or discomfort. But if you experience an increase in pain or swelling, or develop a fever—indications of possible infection—see your doctor. On rare occasions, ongoing discomfort in the scrotum is  experienced, but normally disappears over months.

4. A vasectomy will NOT increase men’s risk for diseases.

Including prostate cancer, heart disease, stroke, hypertension or testicular cancer, according to a guideline paper from the American Urological Association, published in the Journal of Urology in 2012. Though two studies done 20 years ago suggested an increased risk for prostate cancer, the link was weak and could have been due to chance, and subsequent research has failed to find a connection. There is no plausible biologic rationale for a link between the two.

5. Men who have had a vasectomy do not report more sexual difficulties.

Such as a decrease in desire, difficulty maintaining an erection or problems with orgasm—than men who have not had one, according to a large Australian study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2010. In fact, vasectomized men are statistically somewhat more likely to be very satisfied with their sexual relationship, perhaps because the procedure decreases anxiety about unwanted pregnancy and conflict over the use of contraception.

6. Vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

You can still transmit or acquire them when you have unprotected sex. If you or your partner has an STI or you’re not sure of your STI status or your partner’s, you should always use a condom.

7. Though a vasectomy should be considered a permanent form of contraception, it’s often possible to reverse it.

With a vasovasostomy or vasoepididymostomy if you decide you want to father a child. How successful the procedure is depends on several factors—in particular, the length of time since the vasectomy was done (the longer the interval, the more difficult the procedure is, possibly due to scarring that increases over time). A reversal may also be done to treat chronic vasectomy-related scrotal pain. Because the procedure is more complex than a vasectomy, it’s best done by a provider and usually a urologist, who specializes in microsurgery. It can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months for sperm to reappear in semen. Sperm can also be surgically harvested during a reversal and used for in vitro fertilization.