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Male sterilization; Vasovasostomy; Vasoepididymostomy
Vasectomy is a safe and effective surgical operation for male sterilization, a permanent form of birth control. Vasectomy works by interrupting the route that the sperm take from the testicles (where they are produced) to the penis. After vasectomy, the testicles still continue to generate sperm, but their movement is blocked at the site of the vasectomy. Vasectomy does not affect a man's ability to perform sexually, or his sexual satisfaction. It does not affect the balance of male hormones, male sex characteristics, sex drive, or production of semen.
Vasectomy surgery is a much simpler operation than female sterilization. It usually takes 15 - 30 minutes to perform and is done at a doctorâ ' s office or family planning clinic. Local anesthesia is used and the patient can return home the same day.
Patients will feel sore for a few days, but pain can be relieved by analgesics and an ice pack. Normal activities can be resumed within a few weeks. For the first few months after the vasectomy, some active sperm are delivered to the semen so additional contraceptive measures are needed until a semen analysis confirms absence of live sperm.
It takes, on average, around 3 months to clear the viable sperm from the reproductive system. The doctor will perform a semen analysis at around 12 weeks after vasectomy to verify that no live sperm remain in the semen. It is essential that the patient and his partner continue to use other methods of birth control until his sperm count is zero.
The decision to have a vasectomy should be carefully considered. A reversal procedure can be performed, but it is a major operation that does not guarantee restored fertility. In addition, these reversal procedures (vasovasostomy and vasoepididymostomy) are much more complicated surgeries than vasectomy.
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Peterson HB. Sterilization. Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Jan;111(1):189-203.
Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Vasectomy reversal. Fertil Steril. 2006 Nov;86(5 Suppl):S268-71.
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