Vasectomy Information Guide


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The Vasectomy first came into use in 1899 and has since become an effective method of birth control. The estimated figure of men choosing a Vasectomy in Britain is 13%. It is the preferred method compared with female sterilisation, perhaps due to the nature of the surgery being a simple procedure and usually only taking about 10 minutes to complete. During the procedure the vasa deferentia or vas deferens are sealed, stopping sperm from entering the semen that is ejaculated. The result of this is permanent infertility.

Reasons for having a Vasectomy

Men (and their partners) tend to choose vasectomy when they are certain that they either do not want children or have completed their family and do not want any more. This method is a good option for those couples who do not want children and are also unable to use temporary contraceptives. The decision of whether to have a vasectomy should certainly not be taken lightly and the possibility of future changes in personal circumstances must be taken into account.

Suitability for having a Vasectomy

Some men may not be considered for this surgery if they had surgery on their testicles before, if they have found a lump and it has not been cleared by a specialist and in some cases, if the man is particularly young, they may not be offered the surgery if there is a possibility of them changing their mind about wanting children. There are always exceptions however and your case will be looked at individually.

Costs for having a Vasectomy

A vasectomy is offered on the NHS so if you choose to go via this route there will be no fee for the surgery at all however due to waiting lists being quite long a significant number of people choose to go through private healthcare as the surgery is not particularly expensive. The cost of a private vasectomy ranges from £300 to £1000. However, research should be undertaken to ensure there are no hidden costs.

Vasectomy Reversal Surgery

A vasectomy should always be viewed as permanent because in some cases, it genuinely is. A reversal vasectomy often does not work, is very difficult to perform and is still very costly. There is also no guarantee that the sperm will be of good quality anymore, depending on the length of time since the operation. Cryostoring sperm is an option for men who do not wish to take the risk of a reversal not working, should they change their mind in the future. This allows IVF treatment to be more effective.

Procedure for having a Vasectomy

There are broadly two techniques used in vasectomy surgery. The traditional scalpel and stitches technique and the keyhole technique. The latter uses a clamp and locates the vas deferens through the skin. Both have the same success rate and take roughly the same amount of time to perform but the keyhole technique is seen as a little less invasive and resulting in less discomfort with fewer risks generally.

Recovery after a Vasectomy

Full recovery from a Vasectomy takes about 4 weeks, however this should not be confused with successful removal of sperm from your semen. Initial recovery from the surgery should take a couple of days but it does not require an overnight stay, simply lots of rest. Most men go back to work after a week or so although this depends entirely on the individual and of course, whether there were any complications.

Benefits of having a Vasectomy

Whether you have a private Vasectomy, or on the national health service, benefits of a vasectomy are fairly obvious in that sexual activity can be enjoyed without the fear of your partner becoming pregnant. It is often said to be a positive influence on the couples’ sex life and takes the pressure of both couples having to think about contraception. An important benefit is the safety advantages over female steralisation. For example, women have to go under general anaesthetic rather then simply a local one. This in itself can create a number of problems. Post operative complications are more likely with the female. It can affect a number of things such as hormones and it can cause very painful periods.

Disadvantages of having a Vasectomy

The main disadvantages of having a Vasectomy is the possibility of you changing your mind after having the procedure and subsequently not being able to get pregnant and the fact that a vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted infections or diseases, thus you may still need to wear a condom.

Risks of having a Vasectomy

A vasectomy is a very simple procedure however as with any surgery there are risks such as bleeding, bruising and infection. Long-term risks include post vasectomy pain syndrome (PVPS), inflammation, recanalisation (the tubes naturally rejoining), a possible link to dementia, sperm leaking into tissue and causing a lump and psychological damage to the patient. Some of the risks can be dealt with through further surgery and counselling however despite there being some ways to reduce the pain, PVPS remains relatively mysterious in the medical field.

Effectiveness of a Vasectomy

When compared with tubal ligation or other forms of contraceptive, a vasectomy is generally the most effective form of birth control. As few as 1 in 2000 patients report failure of the surgery. However, detection of failure is very simple providing that you maintain yearly semen tests.

Sex Life after a Vasectomy

Finally, a vasectomy should not in any way affect your sex life, ability or orgasm, ability to ejaculate or libido. You will notice no difference at all to your sex life physically. Your semen will even look exactly the same. On the contrary for most men, a vasectomy seems to enhance sexual activity due to the decreased worry of pregnancy.


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