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Southern California Urology Institute
Gary Bellman, M.D., F.R.C.S.
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Vasectomy: How It Compares To Other Contraceptive Methods

By: Dr. Gary Bellman on June 2, 2017, 7:07 pm

 
 
 
 
 
 
Vasectomy Tubal Ligation Intrauterine Device (IUD) Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCP's) Condoms
Procedure 15 min office procedure 1 day hospitalization 15 min office procedure N/A N/A
Anesthesia Local General None N/A N/A
Recovery 48 hours 1 week None N/A N/A
Possible Complications mild swelling, bruising. Slight risk of infection/bleeding, mortality is 4 per 100,000. Uterine perforation, irregular periods, infection, abdominal cramping. Irregular periods, stroke, blood clots. None
Failure Rate <1% 2.00% 1.00% >1% >2%
Long Term Effects None Pelvic pain, post-tubal ligation syndrome.   Many Inconvenient
Cost $500-$1000 $1000-$5000 $175-650 every 5 or 10 years $15-$50/mo $2-6/pack
 
  
Vasectomy is a simple operation designed to make a man sterile, or unable to biologically father a child.  Vasectomy involves blocking the tubes through which sperm pass into the semen.  All vasectomy techniques involve cutting or otherwise blocking both the left and right vas deferens, so that the man’s ejaculate will no longer contain sperm, and he will not be able to make a woman pregnant.
 
 
How common is vasectomy?
Vasectomy is used as a means of contraception in many parts of the world.  A total of about 50 million men have had a vasectomy—a number that corresponds to roughly 5 percent of all married couples of reproductive age. In comparison, about 15% of couples rely on female sterilization for birth control.
 
Approximately half a million vasectomies are performed in the United States each year.  About 1 out of 6 men over age 35 has been vasectomized.  The prevalence of men undergoing the procedure increases with higher levels of education and income.  Among married couples in the United States, only female sterilization and oral contraception are relied upon more often for family planning.
 
 
How does vasectomy compare with female sterilization?
Regardless of how it is performed, vasectomy offers many advantages as a method of birth control.  Like female sterilization, it is a highly effective one-time procedure that provides permanent contraception. Vasectomy, however, is medically much simpler than female sterilization, has a lower incidence of complications, and is much less expensive.
 
What happens after vasectomy?
After vasectomy, the patient will probably feel sore for a few days, and he should rest for at least one day. However, he can expect to recover completely in less than a week.  Many men have the procedure on a Friday and return to work on Monday. Although complications such as swelling, bruising, inflammation, and infection may occur, they are relatively uncommon and almost never serious.  Nevertheless, men who develop these symptoms at any time should inform their physician.
 
When can a man have sex again?
A man can resume sexual activity within a few days after vasectomy, but precautions should be taken against pregnancy until a test shows that his semen is free of sperm.  Generally, this test is performed after the patient has had 10-20 postvasectomy- ejaculations.  If sperm are still present in the semen, the patient is told to return later for a repeat test.
 
 
How about storing semen in a sperm bank?
It is possible to store semen in a sperm bank to preserve the possibility of producing a pregnancy at some future date.  However, doing this is costly, and the sperm in stored semen do not always remain able to cause pregnancy.
 
When should the decision about vasectomy be made?
For all of the foregoing reasons, doctors advise that vasectomy be undertaken only by men who are prepared to accept the fact that they will no longer be able to father a child. The decision should be considered along with other contraceptive options and discussed with a professional counselor. Men who are married or in a serious relationship should also discuss the issue with their partners.
 
How does vasectomy affect masculinity and sexuality?
Not at all. Vasectomy has no effect on the production or release of testosterone, the male hormone responsible for a man’s sex drive, beard, deep voice, and other masculine traits.
 
The operation also has no effect on sexuality. Erections, climaxes, and the amount of ejaculate remain the same. Occasionally, a man may experience sexual difficulties after vasectomy, but these almost always have an emotional basis and can usually be alleviated with counseling. More often, men who have undergone the procedure, and their partners, find that sex is more spontaneous and enjoyable once they are freed from concerns about contraception and accidental pregnancy.
 
 
What is the sum total of the experience with vasectomy?
Vasectomy has been used for about a century as a means of sterilization. It has a long track record as a safe and effective method of contraception and is relied upon by millions of people throughout the world. On the basis of much evidence, experts believe that vasectomy can safely continue to be used as it has been in the past, while further studies are carried out to ensure its safety. 
 
 
Vasectomy At A Glance
  • Vasectomy is a simple procedure to induce infertility in the male.
  • Vasectomy has a long track record as a safe and effective method of contraception.
  • The procedure blocks the tube (the vas deferens) through which sperm pass.
  • A vasectomy can be done even without a scalpel.
  • Reversing a vasectomy is difficult, expensive, and often unsuccessful.
  • Vasectomy offers no protection against HIV or any other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Vasectomized men can develop harmless immune reactions to sperm. There has been concern about a possible increase in prostate cancer among vasectomized men. This risk (if it exists) is relatively small.
                                                                                                               
 


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