Is Your Family Complete? Why You Might Consider a Vasectomy

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Female doctor in mask advising couple

Many couples will reach a point in their relationship when they decide not to have more children or have children in the first place. For men, an increasingly popular permanent birth control option is vasectomy. Usually performed in a doctor’s office, a vasectomy is a simple, one-time sterilization procedure that involves cutting and sealing the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm away from the testicles.

“Vasectomy is the most common non-diagnostic operation that urologists perform in the United States, with about half a million men getting one every year,” says UH urologist Nannan Thirumavalavan, MD. The popularity of the procedure is largely due to its effectiveness: vasectomy is more than 99.99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.

Benefits of Vasectomy

In addition to its phenomenal effectiveness, the procedure offers a number of benefits for men and women alike:

Relative ease of the procedure: A vasectomy typically takes only 20 to 30 minutes, does not require general anesthesia, has a very low risk of surgical complications and is usually done in a doctor’s office.

Quick recovery: After the procedure, men can usually get back to work within 24 hours and resume regular physical activities within a week. Minor post-operational symptoms, including bruising, swelling and pain, are not uncommon. However, these symptoms usually only last for a few days.

Low cost: Vasectomies are also relatively inexpensive, and the cost is generally covered fully or in part by health insurance.

Does not negatively affect sex life: Some men may worry that a vasectomy will negatively affect their sex drive and their ability to enjoy sex. UH urologist Aram Loeb, MD, says that shouldn’t be a concern: “A vasectomy does not affect a man’s testosterone level or his ability to have or maintain an erection. Nor does vasectomy lessen or change the sensation of orgasm and ejaculation.”

In fact, because they no longer have to worry about pregnancy or applying contraception, men who have had a vasectomy often find sex with their partners to be more spontaneous and pleasurable.

Reversibility: Though vasectomy is considered a permanent form of contraception, it can often be reversed. “When performed within 10 years of a vasectomy,” says Dr. Thirumavalavan, “vasectomy reversals are 90 to 95 percent successful.” However, Dr. Thirumavalavan also recommends that men consider storing sperm in a sperm bank before their vasectomy if they determine there is even a small chance that they will want to have children in the future.

Benefits for women: Vasectomy also offers certain benefits for women. For example, if her male partner gets a vasectomy, a woman doesn’t need to take a hormonal contraceptive pill or use an IUD. Consequently, she can avoid side effects and does not have to worry about remembering to take a pill every day. She may also share with her partner in the benefits of an improved, more spontaneous sex life.

Choosing Permanent Sterilization

If you and your partner are considering permanent sterilization, make sure you are well-informed on the topic and that you do not make the decision hastily. As such, it’s important to understand the benefits and risks of other permanent birth control methods, such as tubal ligation. Regardless of the method you choose, only seek permanent sterilization when you are sure you are done having children or when you are certain you do not want to become a parent.

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The expert urologists at University Hospitals have advanced training and expertise in a wide range of urology services and procedures, including vasectomy. When you choose UH for your procedure, you will receive the highest quality care and compassion throughout the process – from your initial consultation to the procedure itself and throughout the recovery period and follow-up appointments for sperm analysis. Learn more about vasectomy services at UH.

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