Vasectomy is a surgical method which provides birth control permanently. In this procedure, the vas deferens of both the testicles of a man are clamped, cut or sealed. This prevents the release of sperm into the semen during ejaculation. With the absence of sperm in the semen a female egg cannot be fertilized, and pregnancy cannot take place. However, since the tubes are blocked before the prostate the ejaculated semen is about the same in volume.
While vasectomy prevents the release of sperm with semen the testicles continue to produce it. The sperm is thus reabsorbed by the body (which is also the case when a non-vasectomized man doesn’t ejaculate for a long time).
After vasectomization it can take a few months before the remaining sperm is fully absorbed by the body. Hence, one should use other contraceptive methods until the tested semen reveals zero sperm count.
- The scrotum and testicles of the patient are shaved, and cleaned with an antiseptic
- To ease the pain and anxiety the patient is generally given an oral or intravenous medicine. In most cases the patient becomes sleepy and doesn’t remember much about the procedure when aroused.
- The doctor or surgeon locates the vas deferens by feeling around the scrotum.
- Once located the doctor injects a local anesthetic into the area.
- One or two openings are made in the scrotum by the doctor. Through these openings the vas deferens tubes are cut and are either stitched or tied together. The doctor may otherwise seal the openings of these cut tubes with heat through a process called electrocautery. The scar tissue from the surgery helps in blocking the tubes.
- The vas deferens tubes are put back inside the scrotum sac and the cuts are stitched together. The stitches dissolve into the skin over a period of time and healing occurs automatically.
A patient can also go for another kind of vasectomy known as non-scalpel vasectomy. In this procedure the doctor uses a sharp hemostat (as opposed to a scalpel) to puncture the scrotum. Due to the smaller incision there are fewer chances for the infection development and in most cases stitching is not required either. There is generally very less or no bleeding and the healing time is also quite less.
Pros of Vasectomy-
- Effectiveness- Vasectomy is one of the most effective birth control methods, especially in comparison to birth control pills and condoms. Its effectiveness is rated at 99.85 percent. One doesn’t have to use other forms of birth control methods after having vasectomy to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
- Simplicity and Ease- Vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure that takes roughly 30 minutes of so. It doesn’t require deep incisions, and pain is also absent due to the use of local anesthesia. A patient can go about living his normal life just after a few days post the surgery. There are no long term side effects, and there is no risk to the patient’s health. Overall, vasectomy is a highly safe method of birth control.
- Other Benefits- Vasectomy cuts off the release of sperm into semen but not testosterone. Hence, a man doesn’t lose libido or sex drive by having vasectomy. Also, in future if the patient decides to father a child then he could get the procedure reversed too.
Cons of Vasectomy-
- STDs- Unlike condoms vasectomy doesn’t provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Also, since the risk lies with both partners the vasectomized male should be cautious when having sex and should avoid sexual relationships with other women.
- Vasectomy Reversal– While it is possible to reverse the procedure and grant a male the ability to impregnate, it can be quite complicated and time-consuming. Also, not always success can be achieved with the same. Even if reversal of the procedure has been successful done it can take as long as an entire year for pregnancy to occur.
- Side- Effects- Some men experience swelling and pain in the testicles after the procedure. The pain could occur immediately after the procedure or after a couple of months. If the pain persists for more than a year then it can give rise to other heath issues.
The risks associated with vasectomy are very few. These are as follows:
- Bleeding beneath the skin, which may give rise to bruising or swelling.
- (In rare cases) Leakage of sperm from a vas deferens into the tissue around it and formation of sperm granuloma (a small lump of sperm). This condition is seldom painful and can be easily treated with medication and rest. Only in rare cases a surgery is required to remove the granuloma.
Vasectomy is a fairly common medical procedure. However, one must consider all aspects of the same and keep in mind the future plans before going for it.