Vasectomy is a very simple surgical procedure that makes a man infertile. It can be done in about 15 minutes in a doctor’s office. About 14 percent of Canadian women rely on this form of birth control. A successful vasectomy is 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy (if the woman has only one sexual partner!)
How it’s done?
The scrotum is numbed with an injection but the man remains awake during the procedure. Two tiny incisions are made. The tubes (called vas deferens) which carry sperm from the testicles to the penis are severed and the ends are sealed.
Most men recover quickly although a few men experience pain and swelling for up to two weeks. Infection is possible but rare. Men are asked to avoid strenuous activity for 48 hours. It takes about three months for the procedure to be fully effective. A sperm count is done three months after the procedure to ensure that it has been successful.
A vasectomy has no negative effects on a man’s sex drive and studies have not shown an association with prostate cancer. Very rarely, small, sometimes painful, bumps can develop at the ends of the vas deferens. These bumps usually disappear on their own, but may be removed surgically if necessary.
- one-time procedure
- very effective
- quick recovery
- no need to remember birth control method
- allows male partner to be involved in birth control decision-making
- you don’t have to interrupt sex
- no significant long term side effects
- simplest procedure for permanent birth control
- male partner must be willing
- reversal is expensive, difficult and sometimes impossible
- provides no protection against sexually transmitted infections
- psychologically difficult for some men
- birth control must be reconsidered if a woman switches (or adds) male partners