Vasectomy is minor surgery to block the supply of sperm to your semen. Each year, more than 500,000 men in the U.S. choose vasectomy for birth control. A vasectomy prevents pregnancy better than any other method of birth control, except abstinence.
Only 1 to 2 women out of 1,000 will get pregnant in the year after their partner has had a vasectomy.
Vasectomy is typically a 20-minute procedure. It can be done in a urologist's office, surgery center or in a hospital.
It is important to note - a vasectomy does not work right away. After the vasectomy, new sperm will not be able to get into the semen, but there will still be a lot of sperm "in the pipeline" that takes time to clear. After the procedure, you will have a follow-up visit to check for sperm in your ejaculate. During this time, you should use other forms of birth control.
If you change your mind about having children, you can have a procedure called a vasectomy reversal. The surgery reconnects the tube (called the vas deferens) that carries sperm from the testicles into the semen. After the reversal, sperm will again be present in the semen, and you may be able to get your partner pregnant.
The reversal procedure can take 4 to 5 hours, and it does not always work. It can take 4-12 months for your partner to get pregnant after the procedure.
Common myths about vasectomy include:
Myth: It dampens your sex drive.
Fact: A vasectomy will not affect your sexual drive or your ability to have erections and ejaculate.
Myth: A vasectomy is very painful.
Fact: Some pain is possible, but often the procedure is not painful. The doctor may recommend you take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication or apply a bag of ice or frozen vegetables to the affected area.
Myth: The recovery is long.
Fact: Most men recover from a vasectomy in about a week. Ask your doctor how long you should wait before having sex or engaging in tough, physical efforts.