Vasectomy is a surgical procedure that is intended to make a man sterile or unable to impregnate a woman by severing the sperm-transporting vas deferens tubes. Vasectomies are regarded as a permanent and effective type of birth control for men. And, for the most part, it’s true.
A Vasectomy Isn’t Always a Foolproof Method to Stop Pregnancy
What does it mean “for the most part”? It’s important to understand before any man goes for the procedure that it is still possible to get a woman pregnant after having a vasectomy. In fact, one in 2,000 men have become fathers after undergoing a vasectomy. How is that?
- Live sperm still found in the semen.
- Vas deferens tubes rejoining naturally, which is known as recanalization.
It can be at least eight months before the vasectomy takes full effect and no live sperm is found in the ejaculate.
Three Reasons to Get Yourself a Vasectomy
If you choose to undergo a vasectomy, you should first discuss it with your significant other and make sure to weigh the pros and cons. Each man may have a different reason to do the procedure, but three common reasons men (or couples) choose to do it are:
- The man/couple doesn’t want any children (or any more).
- The risk is lower compared to the women’s risk for using surgical or conventional birth control techniques.
- Eliminate the possibility of passing on a hereditary disease.
Two Forms of Vasectomy Procedure
You may not know it but there are two kinds of vasectomy procedures you can choose to undergo. You can choose either the conventional surgical vasectomy or the no-scalpel vasectomy method.
In the conventional method, a scalpel is used to make two tiny cuts in the scrotal sac. The vas deferens tubes are pulled out and either cut or clipped and then placed back in the sac. It takes at least two sutures to close the cut made.
In the scalpel-free method, an opening is still made in the scrotal sac but using a special device instead of a scalpel. Men often choose this method because the cut doesn’t require stitches to close it, there is less pain and swelling because the tissues are not as manipulated and the anxiety the patient undergoes is much less than what you’d expect with the traditional method.
Several Common Vasectomy Risks and Complications Men Could Experience
A vasectomy is a surgical process, and like any surgery, there are some risks and complications you need to be aware of. There are certain unique complications and risks that other surgeries don’t have. However, they are generally minor and won’t need additional involvement. They include:
- Swelling/bruising – can be controlled with ice
- Sperm leakage (during the surgery)
- Sperm granuloma – tiny lump that develops in the testes because of sperm leakage
- Allergic reaction to anesthetic
Vasectomy Reversal: Why It’s Done and Should You Really Do It
Sometimes men regret their decision of getting a vasectomy, and later realize that they do really want a child. Thankfully, a vasectomy can be reversed. There are two procedures to get this done:
- Vasovasostomy (reattaching the vas deferens)
- Vasoepididymostomy (connecting the severed vas deferens to the epididymis)
The success rate of vasectomy reversals is about 80 percent.
Several Common Vasectomy Reversal Risks and Complications
Again, you’re undergoing surgery and it does bring risks and complications such as:
- Sperm granuloma
- Allergic reactions
- Difficulties with sex
- Failure to restore fertility
- Decrease in sperm count
It is important to understand that a vasectomy and the vasectomy reversal are not cheap. If you are undergoing a vasectomy, it can cost up to $1,000 – depending on the kind of procedure you undergo and where you’re located. If you plan on doing the reversal, you can pay between $5,000 to $13,000, again based on procedure type and location. And, for a reversal vasectomy, most insurance companies will not cover this procedure as they deem it an elective procedure.
If you’re thinking about undergoing a vasectomy, there are several very important facts you need to keep in mind:
- First, you don’t become less of a man (a fear many men have).
- Second, you won’t have a drop in your testosterone levels.
- Third, you don’t become impotent.
- Fourth, you’re not protected against STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).
- Fifth, you don’t experience changes in body or facial hair.
For whatever reason you want to get a vasectomy or the reversal procedure, you should always speak with your doctor and your significant other regarding the decision. Don’t ever make this decision on a whim. You should thoroughly think about it. Not just for the costs of both procedures but because of the emotional impact it can cause.