A vasectomy is a very minor operation used to make a male sterile. This permanent form of birth control is completed by severing and sealing the tubes of the vas deferns so that sperm cannot ejaculate. There are different methods of cutting and sealing the tubes, so talk to your doctor about which would be best for you.
- Does it work? Vasectomies almost always are successful and have a much higher success rate than tubal ligations. Only about one in every two thousand vasectomies fails.
- Why do it? A vasectomy is the only permanent form of birth control for men. Women can get their tubes "tied," (tubal ligation), which is essentially the same procedure, but involving the fallopian tubes. A vasectomy is much safer and less invasive than a tubal ligation; if you, as husband and wife, are trying to decide who should get the procedure done, consider going with the vasectomy. It is a short, outpatient procedure that is more reliable than tubal ligations.
- Keep in mind: Consider getting a vasectomy only if you are completely sure you will never want to have kids in the future. Make sure that you are getting the procedure done by a reliable and experienced surgeon. The failure rate is much higher with surgeons that have not performed as many vasectomies. Use birth control up to three months after the procedure because sperm may still be swimming around. Also, after twelve weeks, get tested to make sure the procedure was successful. Although the operation itself does not hurt very much, some men complain of pain for up to a year after.
- Can it be undone? It is not uncommon for men to want a vasectomy reversal. The procedure is much more complicated than the original vasectomy because the tubes have to be reattached. Also, only about half of vasectomy reversals are actually successful. It's best to just get a vasectomy if you are completely sure you want one and if you have spent a significant amount of time making the decision.
If you are married and you are deciding whether the husband or the wife should get an operation, choose the vasectomy. It's less complicated and involves less recovery time because the operation doesn't go as far into the body. However, make sure that you are positive that you will not want to have children later before you change your reproductive system.