A vasectomy is regarded a permanent method of birth control. An increasing number of couples are choosing it as the right method for them. About 500,000 vasectomies are performed annually in the United States. They are considered less invasive than a tubal ligation. That’s the procedure used to prevent a woman's eggs from reaching the uterus. Vasectomies can also be reversed.
Vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure where the tubes that transport sperm are severed, and then sealed to prevent the release of sperm when a man ejaculates. There are generally few complications and no change in sexual function or libido. The procedure takes about 20 to 30 minutes and can be done in an office or clinic by a family practice physician, general surgeon or urologist.
There are several types of vasectomy. The traditional method involves gaining access to the tubes (known as vasa deferentia) of each testicle. The vasa deferentia are cut and sealed by tying, stitching or cauterizing or clamping to prevent sperm from entering the seminal stream. No-scalpel vasectomy is a technique that uses a small clamp with pointed ends. Instead of using a scalpel to cut the skin, the clamp is poked through the skin of the scrotum and then opened.
After a vasectomy, the testicles continue to produce sperm, but it is reabsorbed by the body. Men still ejaculate about the same amount of fluid, but the semen does not contain the sperm necessary for fertilization of the egg.
It usually takes several months after a vasectomy for all remaining sperm to be ejaculated or reabsorbed. Most physicians and surgeons recommend one or two post-procedural semen specimens to verify a successful vasectomy. This is why another method of birth control must be used until a semen sample shows a zero sperm count. Otherwise, women can still pregnant.
Vasectomy is considered a very effective birth control method. Some studies report only 1 to 2 women out of 1,000 will have an unplanned pregnancy in the first year after their partners have had a vasectomy
A vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).