If you’re thinking about joining the more than 50 million men who’ve had the little snip — or a vasectomy — you want to know all the details. Rest assured that the procedure is simple and won’t affect your sex life, except to make you more confident that you’re not going to get your partner pregnant.
While a vasectomy has a more than 99% long-term success rate, you may still be fertile in the first few weeks after your procedure. Here’s what W. Cooper Buschemeyer III, MD, of Buschemeyer Urology wants you to know about vasectomies and the possibility of getting your partner pregnant.
What happens during a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is an outpatient procedure in which the ends of the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm, are closed off. Your body continues to produce sperm, but it just can’t reach your semen and impregnate your partner. The sperm you do produce is soaked up by your body.
After the procedure, you’ll have some mild discomfort, bruising, and swelling.
Over-the-counter pain medications and icing help you find relief from soreness in the first 36 hours. You can go back to most daily activities after 2-3 days. Dr. Buschemeyer will ask you to hold off on vigorous activities for about a week, though.
Is a vasectomy an effective form of birth control?
The absolute number one way to avoid pregnancy is not to have sexual intercourse. Next to abstinence, however, vasectomy has a very high success rate when it comes to preventing pregnancy with a very high long-term success rate.
Only about 1 in every 1,000 cases does vasectomy cross the separated ends of the vas deferens and the woman gets pregnant.
Compared with permanent birth control for women — a tubal ligation — a vasectomy is simpler, more effective, and less expensive. It’s also a safer procedure.
Is a vasectomy effective right away?
A man can still get his partner pregnant in the weeks right after a vasectomy. Sperm often remains temporarily upstream of where the vasectomy occurred. If you have unprotected sex, the sperm can enter the woman, meet an egg, and result in pregnancy.
We recommend you continue to use another form of birth control for at least eight weeks or about 20 ejaculations. Dr. Buschemeyer tests your semen in the weeks after your vasectomy to ensure it’s sperm-free. If your semen samples continue to contain sperm after several weeks, he may recommend a second vasectomy.
Are vasectomies permanent?
The answer to this question is complicated. Vasectomies are a permanent form of birth control and should not be done without serious consideration of your situation. If you’re sure your family is complete, a vasectomy may be the right choice for you.
Dr. Buschemeyer can reverse the procedure, however, if your circumstances change. During the reversal, he reconnects the pathway for sperm to get into the semen. The effectiveness of the reversal depends on how long it’s been since the vasectomy; if it’s been more than 15 years since the vasectomy, successful reversals are less likely.
If you’re considering a vasectomy, come see us at our Conroe, Willis, and The Woodlands, Texas, offices. Call Buschemeyer Urology to set up a consultation, or use the website to arrange your appointment.