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Birth Control and Sterilization

How Effective Is Tubal Ligation?

Tubal ligation and tubal implants are not 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. There is a slight risk of becoming pregnant after tubal ligation.

Does Tubal Ligation Protect Against STDs?

No. Sterilization does not protect against STDs, including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). Male condoms provide the best protection from most STDs.

What Is a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy, or male sterilization, is a simple, permanent sterilization procedure for men. It's generally safer and less painful than sterilization in women. The operation, usually done in a doctor's office, requires cutting and sealing or blocking the vas deferens, the tubes in the male reproductive system that carry sperm. A vasectomy prevents the transport of sperm out of the testes. This surgery does not affect the man's ability to achieve orgasm or ejaculate. There will still be a fluid ejaculate, but there will be no sperm in the fluid.

How Effective Is a Vasectomy?

Except in rare cases, this procedure is 100% effective.

Does Vasectomy Protect Against STDs?

No. Vasectomy does not protect against STDs, including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). Male condoms provide the best protection from most STDs.

How Is a Vasectomy Done?

A vasectomy is usually done in the surgeon's office while the man is awake, but is relatively pain-free since local anesthesia is used. A small incision is made in the upper part of the scrotum, under the penis. The tubes (vas deferens) that carry sperm are tied off and cut apart, burned or blocked with surgical clips. The skin incision is stitched closed. The patient is able to return home immediately.

There is a non-surgical technique that some doctors use. In a "no-scalpel" vasectomy, the doctor feels for the vas deferens under the skin of the scrotum and holds it in place with a small clamp. Then a special instrument is used to make a tiny puncture in the skin and stretch the opening so the vas deferens can be cut and tied. No stitches are needed to close the punctures, which heal quickly by themselves.

What Happens After the Vasectomy?

After a vasectomy, you will probably feel sore for a few days. You should rest for at least one day. However, you can expect to recover completely in less than a week. Many men have the procedure on a Friday and return to work on Monday.

Are There Side Effects of a Vasectomy?

Although vasectomy 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 doctor.

When Can a Man Have Sex Again After a Vasectomy?

You can resume sexual activity within a few days after a vasectomy, but birth control should be used until a test shows that your semen is free of sperm. Generally, this test is performed after you have had 10-20 post-vasectomy ejaculations. If sperm are still present in the semen, you will be asked to return at a later date for a repeat test. Once sperm are absent from the ejaculate, other forms of contraception may be discontinued. The chance of pregnancy, however, is not zero. Due to a process known as spontaneous recanalization (tubes rejoining), pregnancies may occur after vasectomy, although this is very rare.

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