Vasectomy. Safe, Effective and Permanent Birth Control
Family size is a very personal decision. Whether you have one child or ten, when you and your partner agree that you don’t want any more children, vasectomy is the most reliable form of permanent birth control.
Understanding Vasectomy. What is it and How is it Done?
Most vasectomies are performed in-office by a urologist, a physician who specializes in the male urinary tract and reproductive system. After using a local anesthetic to numb the scrotum, the doctor makes a small incision on each side to obtain access to the vas deferens (a tiny muscular tube that carries sperm from the epididymis to the ejaculatory duct). A small section of the tube is cut out and the ends are then permanently sealed with heat and/or stitches. The small incisions in the scrotum are then closed using stitches or medical skin glue. The patient remains fully awake throughout and, in most cases, can go home shortly after the 20-minute procedure.
Advantages of Vasectomy over Female Sterilization (Tubal Ligation)
- Although both methods are extremely effective, vasectomy has a higher success rate
- Less expensive – a female tubal ligation procedure costs almost six times more than vasectomy
- Shorter recovery time and a much lower risk of complications
- Vasectomy is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure – tubal ligation is major surgery
Success Rates for Vasectomy Procedures
Although both methods are extremely effective, vasectomies are slightly more effective at preventing unplanned pregnancy than female sterilization. One study* suggests that tubal ligation (female sterilization) has a 95 percent success rate over ten years, while vasectomy has a 98 percent success rate over ten years.
Tips for a Quick Recovery
Most men are fully recovered in 1-2 weeks and experience minimal pain and side effects. Follow these suggestions from UH experts and you’ll be back to normal as quickly and safely as possible.
- Wear supportive underwear to help reduce pain, inflammation and tenderness.
- Rest for 24 hours after your procedure and limit physical activity for at least three days. Avoid sports and heavy lifting for at least one week or until your doctors says it is safe.
- Keep the surgical site clean and dry and avoid bathing or swimming for at least 3-5 days. You may shower 24 hours after the procedure. Wash and dry your genitals gently to avoid opening the incisions.
- Follow your doctor’s postoperative instructions exactly and take all medications as prescribed. These may include pain medicine and possibly antibiotics to reduce your risk of infection.
Vasectomy does not provide immediate protection against pregnancy. Other methods of birth control should still be used until a sperm analysis confirms there is no sperm in your semen. Most doctors recommend sperm analysis at two months post-procedure and then at monthly intervals until the semen tests negative for sperm. The average length of time for vasectomy to be fully effective is between 8 and 16 weeks.
Advantages of Vasectomy over Other Methods of Birth Control
- Hormonal birth control for women can raise her risk for blood clots and high blood pressure, which in rare cases can lead to heart attack or stroke. The risks are even higher if she uses tobacco products.
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs) can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. This is when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus – usually one of the fallopian tubes. This is a serious medical problem that needs immediate treatment. IUDs also pose a slight risk of infection or puncture of the uterus.
- Condoms, spermicidal foams and diaphragms are effective but can be messy, time consuming and can interrupt the “mood.” Once vasectomy has reached full effectiveness, you and your partner can enjoy a more spontaneous, worry-free love life.
Trust Your Vasectomy to the Experts at UH
The board-certified 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 can rest assured you will receive the highest quality care and compassion throughout the process – from your initial consultation (which is required), to the procedure itself and throughout the recovery period and follow-up appointments for sperm analysis. We’ll be with you every step of the way.
Schedule your vasectomy consult online or call 216-868-4095
*Source: James Trussell, Office of Population Research, Princeton University; Brookings Institution
Does Insurance Cover Vasectomy Procedures?
Most insurance plans will cover all or some of the cost for vasectomy. However, it is always good advice to check with your provider to ensure your plan includes vasectomy benefits. Without insurance coverage, female sterilization can cost as much as six times that of a vasectomy. Over a period of 10 years, a vasectomy can end up being cheaper than other forms of birth control.