Vasectomy involves cutting and tying off the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm from each testicle.
You should consider it a permanent and irreversible form of male contraception. If either you or your partner have any doubts about permanent sterilisation, you should continue to use alternative forms of contraception.
The effect of vasectomy is not immediate. Sperm exist downstream from the site of surgery, and these need to be cleared from the system before cease using contraception. On average, it takes roughly 15 to 20 ejaculates to clear the system of any remaining sperm. In some men, sperm may persist for several months.
You must obtain a semen analysis three months after the vasectomy. Until you receive a negative semen analysis, your partner is still at risk of becoming pregnant. Therefore, you and your partner must continue to use appropriate contraception until you have received a negative semen analysis result.
Specific Risks and Side Effects of Vasectomy
Bleeding causing gross swelling of the scrotum, which may require reoperation in 1-2% of patients.
A sperm granuloma is a small, tender lump in the area of the operation. These usually resolve over time.
A heavy feeling or “fullness” in the scrotum occurs in 70% of men after vasectomy and can last several days to weeks.
1% of men experience chronic testicular pain lasting months and sometimes years after surgery. In some cases, the only solution is to attempt vasectomy reversal.
The procedure may fail in roughly 1 in 1000 to 1 in 3000 men. Failure can even occur years after surgery and with a previously negative semen analysis; in this setting, the ends of the vas have managed to rejoin over time.
Due to a change in life circumstances, some men choose to later undergo vasectomy reversal. The success of reversal falls over time, with pregnancy rates falling to less than 50% if it is attempted more than seven years post vasectomy.
Vasectomy does not cause erectile dysfunction, does not decrease penile sensation, and does not decrease sexual pleasure. It does not increase the risk of prostate cancer, testicular cancer, dementia, heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure.