If you're thinking about having it done, it's important to understand that there are advantages and disadvantages.
Benefits of a Vasectomy
The tube that the doctor cuts is called the vas deferens. You have two, one for each testicle.
The procedure is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancies. If you don’t want children, it's as reliable a form of birth control as you can get. It's also less likely to cause problems than a woman having her tubes tied (aka tubal ligation), and it's less expensive.
And it’s a one-time cost that may even be covered by your insurance plan.
If you're concerned about your sex drive, don't be. A vasectomy won't change it because your hormones aren't affected. The only difference is that your swimmers can’t get into the pool.
Risks of a Vasectomy
You may have some mild pain afterward along with some swelling in your scrotum and possibly a little bleeding. But these don't happen often and aren't typically serious if they do. Pain relievers and cold packs can help. About 1% to 2% of men have pain that doesn't go away.
As with any surgery, there’s the chance of infection.
A few other issues are possible but rare:
- An ache or feeling of pressure or discomfort in a testicle
- Sperm granuloma (a hard lump or inflammation caused by leaking sperm)
- Spermatocele (a cyst in the tube that collects sperm)
- Hydrocele (a sac of fluid around a testicle that causes swelling in your scrotum)
The procedure is designed to be permanent. While you can have it reversed later, there's no guarantee that your fertility will return. A lot depends on how long it’s been since your surgery (sooner is better) and the type of vasectomy you had.
In less than 1% of men, the vasectomy doesn’t take and you can still get your partner pregnant.
Other Things to Think About
- A vasectomy won't protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. You will still need to wear condoms to avoid getting and spreading STDs.
- It won’t affect your sexual performance or permanently damage your testicles or penis. You can still ejaculate.
- There’s no proven link between vasectomy and testicular or prostate cancer.