Vasectomy — also called male sterilization — is a surgical procedure. It is meant to protect against pregnancy permanently, so it’s very effective.
Where can I get a vasectomy?
What is a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a simple surgery done by a doctor in an office, hospital, or clinic. The small tubes in your scrotum that carry sperm are cut or blocked off, so sperm can’t leave your body and cause pregnancy. The procedure is very quick, and you can go home the same day. It’s extremely effective at preventing pregnancy — almost 100%.
PPHP offers the no scalpel vasectomy which lowers the risk of infection and other complications, and generally take less time to heal.
Vasectomies are meant to be permanent — so they usually can’t be reversed. You should only get a vasectomy if you’re 100% positive you don’t want to be able to get someone pregnant for the rest of your life.
The term “vasectomy” comes from the name of the tubes in your scrotum that are blocked during the procedure: vas deferens.
How does a vasectomy work?
Sperm — the microscopic cells that join up with an egg to cause pregnancy — are made in your testicles. Sperm leaves the testicles through two tubes called the vas deferens, and mixes with other fluids to make semen. The sperm in your semen can cause pregnancy if it gets into a vagina.
A vasectomy blocks or cuts each vas deferens tube, keeping sperm out of your semen. Sperm cells stay in your testicles and are absorbed by your body. Starting about 3 months after a vasectomy, your semen won’t contain any sperm, so it can’t cause pregnancy, but you’ll still have the same amount of semen you did before. There just won’t be any sperm in it.
Vasectomies don’t change the way having an orgasm or ejaculating feels. Your semen will still look, feel, and taste the same after a vasectomy — it just won’t be able to get anybody pregnant.
Do vasectomies protect you from STIs?
No, a vasectomy won’t protect you or your partners from sexually transmitted infections. Semen can still carry STIs, even if it doesn’t contain sperm. And for some STIs, all you need is skin-to-skin contact to get them from someone.
Use condoms to lower your chances of getting or spreading STIs.
Are vasectomies safe?
Vasectomies are extremely safe, and very few people have complications. However, like all medical procedures, there are some possible risks. The most common risks with a vasectomy are minor and treatable.
Can I get a vasectomy?
Most people with penises and testicles can safely get a vasectomy. Your doctor will talk with you about your health to make sure a vasectomy is right for you.
You should only get a vasectomy if you’re totally sure you don’t want to be able to have kids for the rest of your life.
A vasectomy may not be a good choice for you if:
You may want to have a child biologically in the future.
You’re being pressured by your partner, friends, or family.
You hope a vasectomy will solve problems that may be temporary — such as marriage or sexual problems, short-term mental or physical illnesses, financial worries, or being out of work.
Can a vasectomy be reversed?
Vasectomies are meant to be permanent — they usually can’t be undone.
It’s sometimes possible to reverse a vasectomy, but there are no guarantees — your fertility may not come back. Vasectomy reversal is a complicated surgery, and it can be very expensive.
Whether or not a vasectomy reversal might work depends on:
How long ago you got the vasectomy.
The type of vasectomy you got.
Whether or not your body has developed antibodies to sperm (when your immune system attacks sperm).
If you’re worried about reversal when thinking about getting a vasectomy, it’s probably best to wait.
Before you get a vasectomy, think about any possible life changes that could affect you in the future, like a divorce, a new partner, or the death of your children. You don't need your partner's permission to have a vasectomy — but it may be helpful to talk about it with your partner (or anyone else who could offer support and advice).
There are other ways to prevent pregnancy that aren’t permanent, like condoms, outercourse, and withdrawal, and your partner has lots of birth control options too. IUDs and implants are nearly as effective as vasectomies and last for a long time, but they’re not permanent.
What are the risks of a vasectomy?
Getting a vasectomy is usually very safe, but like all medical procedures, there can be some risks. Things like temporary pain, bruising, and infection are the most common ones. You may need an antibiotic from your doctor to treat an infection.
Call your doctor if you get a vasectomy and have any of these signs of infection:
A fever over 100° F.
Blood or pus coming from where the cut was made in your scrotum.
Lots of pain or swelling in your scrotum or testicle area.
Other possible problems with vasectomies include:
Bleeding where the skin was cut (but this usually stops on its own).
Bleeding under the skin that may cause swelling or bruising (called hematoma). It usually goes away on its own. Putting ice packs on the bruise and taking over-the-counter pain medication can help.
Swelling (called Spermatic Granuloma) caused by sperm leaking from your vas deferens. It usually goes away on its own, but a doctor may need to drain it.
Temporary pain or discomfort are common. You can take over-the-counter pain medicine and wear supportive underwear that doesn’t let your testicles hang. Long-term pain is really uncommon, but possible. If this happens you should talk with a doctor or nurse for possible treatment.
Very rarely, the cut ends of your vas deferens grow back together, which can allow pregnancy to happen.
Does getting a vasectomy hurt?
Probably not. Your doctor will help make your vasectomy as comfortable as possible. You’ll get local anesthesia to numb your testicles, so you shouldn’t feel much during the procedure. You may also get medicine to help you relax.
You may have a little discomfort when you get the numbing shot or when the vas deferens tubes are handled during the procedure, but overall, you shouldn’t feel too much pain.
What happens during a no-scalpel vasectomy?
The doctor makes one tiny puncture (hole) to reach both vas deferens tubes — the skin of your scrotum isn’t cut with a scalpel. Your tubes are then tied off, cauterized, or blocked. The small puncture heals quickly. You won’t need stitches, and there’s no scarring.
No-scalpel methods — also called no-cut or no-incision — reduce bleeding and lower the risk of infection, bruising, and other complications.
How will I feel after my vasectomy?
You can go home and rest right after your vasectomy. You may feel some discomfort or pain after your vasectomy, but you shouldn’t be in terrible pain. You may also have some bruising and/or swelling for a few days. Wearing snug underwear that doesn’t let your testicles move too much, taking over-the-counter pain medication, and icing your genitals can help ease any pain. And don’t do any hard physical work or exercise for a week after your vasectomy.
Call your doctor if you have:
A fever over 100° F.
Blood or pus coming from the where the cut was made in your scrotum.
Lots of pain or swelling in your scrotum or testicle area.
These signs could mean you have an infection and need antibiotics.
How long will it take me to recover after my vasectomy?
Most people only need to rest for a few days after their vasectomy. If your job is physically demanding, you’ll have to take about a week off from work. You shouldn’t exercise or do any hard physical work for about a week after your vasectomy.
How soon can I have sex after my vasectomy?
Usually, you can start having sex again about a few days to a week after your vasectomy. Some people wait longer. If having sex is uncomfortable, wait a few more days. Just remember that the vasectomy WON’T prevent pregnancy right away.
It takes about 3 months after your vasectomy for your semen to be sperm-free. Your doctor will test your semen and tell you when the sperm are gone and the vasectomy is working as birth control.
To collect a semen sample, you’ll masturbate into a cup or use a special condom when you have sex. Until your doctor says there’s no sperm in your semen, you should use condoms or another form of birth control during vaginal sex.
What if I have more questions?
You can speak to the doctor at PPHP or visit plannedparenthood.org for more information.