How Vasectomy Works

Vasectomy is a simple procedure. It makes men sterile by keeping sperm out of semen (the fluid that spurts from the penis during sex). Sperm are the reproductive cells in men. Pregnancy can happen if a sperm joins with a woman's egg.
Sperm are made in the testes. They pass through two tubes called the vasa deferentia to other glands and mix with seminal fluids to form semen. Vasectomy blocks each vas deferens and keeps sperm out of the seminal fluid. The sperm are absorbed by the body instead of being ejaculated. Without sperm, your "cum" (ejaculate) cannot cause pregnancy.
Vasectomy does not affect masculinity and it will not affect a man’s ability to get hard and stay hard. It also will not affect a man’s sex organs, sexuality, or sexual pleasure. No glands or organs are removed or altered. Your hormones and sperm continue being produced. Your ejaculate will look just like it always did. And there will be about as much of it as before.
Vasectomy is not immediately effective. Sperm remains in the system beyond the blocked tubes. You must use other birth control until the sperm are used up. It usually takes about three months. A simple test - semen analysis - shows when there is no more sperm in the seminal fluid. Very rarely, tubes grow back together again and pregnancy may occur. This happens in about one out of 1,000 cases in the first year.
To Prevent Unintended Pregnancy
Vasectomy is the most effective birth control for sexually active men. While it offers no protection against sexually transmitted infection, a man and his partner will need no other contraceptive after a successful vasectomy. You must regard sterilization as permanent, even though it may be reversible in some cases. Your decision to have no biological children in the future must be firm. You must be absolutely sure you will never change your mind or regret your choice - no matter how your life changes.
Reasons for Considering Vasectomy
  • You want to enjoy having sex without causing pregnancy.
  • You don't want to have a child biologically in the future.
  • Your partner agrees that your family is complete, and no more children are wanted.
  • You and your partner have concerns about the side effects of other methods.
  • Other methods are unacceptable.
  • Your partner's health would be threatened by a future pregnancy.
  • You don't want to pass on a hereditary illness or disability.
  • You want to spare your partner the surgery and expense of tubal sterilization - sterilization for women is more complicated and costly.
Do Not Consider Vasectomy If
  • You want to have a child biologically in the future.
  • You are being pressured by your partner, friends, or family - you must want the operation.
  • You have marriage or sexual problems, short-term mental or physical illnesses, financial worries, or you are out of work - vasectomy is not a good solution for temporary problems.
  • You have not considered possible changes in your life, such as divorce, remarriage, or the death of children.
  • You have not discussed it fully with your partner.
  • You plan to bank sperm in case you change your mind - sperm banks collect, freeze, and thaw sperm for alternative insemination. However, some men's sperm does not survive freezing. And after six months, frozen sperm may begin to lose the ability to fertilize an egg.
Other Options
Consider all other methods before you choose vasectomy. The pill, the patch, the ring, the shot, and IUDs are more than 97 percent effective. Most women can use them with little risk of serious complications. Other methods that have little or no side effects are condoms, female condoms, diaphragms, caps, shields, periodic abstinence, and contraceptive foams, jellies, and suppositories.
A woman also may want to consider sterilization. There are new sterilization procedures for women that reduce the cost, recovery time, and risks of the procedure. But vasectomy is simpler, costs less, and has fewer risks. In all cases, the results must be considered permanent. So, think carefully about what sterilization will mean for both of you - and your futures.
Potential Risks
Vasectomy is a low-risk procedure. Complications can occur with any kind of surgery. Major complications with vasectomy are rare and are usually associated with infection. Warning signals include
  • a fever over 100° F
  • blood or pus oozing from the site of the incision
  • excessive pain or swelling
Other potential problems
  • Bleeding into the skin during the procedure may cause bruises that will clear up by themselves.
  • Swellings containing blood - hematomas - occur in fewer than two out of 100 cases. They usually clear up by themselves, or with bed rest or ice packs. Surgical drainage is rarely needed.
  • Swellings containing fluid - hydrocels - and tenderness near the testicles occur in less than one out of 100 cases. This usually clears up in about a week. Applying heat and wearing an athletic supporter helps. Surgical drainage is rarely needed.
  • Sperm leak from the tubes and cause a small lump - granuloma - under the skin near the site of the operation in about 18 out of 100 cases. Sperm granuloma usually clear up by themselves. Surgical treatment is sometimes required.
  • Mild infections occur in up to seven out of 100 cases. Rarely, an abscess may develop. Treatment with antibiotics is successful.
  • There may be some temporary discomfort or pain in the testicles. In about two out of 100 cases, the pain may be chronic and severe. Most of the time, pain is relieved by taking anti-inflammatory drugs or other medications. Very rarely, an injection called a spermatic cord block can be used to deaden the pain temporarily. Vasectomy reversal is very rarely needed to relieve pain permanently.
  • Very rarely, the cut ends of a vas deferens grow back together - recanalization. This most often happens within four months of the operation and may allow pregnancy to happen.
  • Decreased sexual desire or inability to become erect occurs in four out of 1,000 cases. The most likely cause is emotional - there is no physical cause for sexual dysfunction associated with vasectomy.
Complication rates for vasectomy are generally lower for the non-incision, no-scalpel method - when the skin of the scrotum is not cut - than for methods that include cutting the skin.
From: www.plannedparenthood.org

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