Many men want the opportunity to plan the number of children they have – and many women want to finally be able to share the responsibility of contraception with their partner.
So as we mark Men’s Health Month, an awareness campaign on why the snip is not really the snip and why a little more conversation can mean a lot more action. It’s time to get informed.
1. Will vasectomy make me impotent?
A lot of men worry that a vasectomy will lead to a reduction in sexual performance or desire – not surprising really when in some cultures they use the same word for vasectomy and castration! But it can actually improve your sex life because of the peace-of-mind it brings. Having a vasectomy is liberating – imagine never having to worry about unwanted pregnancies again. Instead of frantically rummaging through the bathroom cabinet for a condom, hoping that the mood won’t pass, you can do it whenever you like!
2. What will happen when I ejaculate?
Having a vasectomy does not affect your hormones, ejaculation or orgasm. There’s no noticeable change in what your semen looks like, what it smells like, even what it tastes like. You will still have erections and produce the same amount of semen. The only difference is that the semen won’t contain sperm, as instead of travelling out of your penis, they will be naturally reabsorbed by the body.
3. Does it involve a lengthy operation?
Vasectomies only take 10-15 minutes. The same time as your morning shower or a coffee break from work and unlike the former means you and your partner never have to worry about contraception or unintended pregnancy again.
4. Should I be scared of going under the knife?
It may be known as the snip but at Marie Stopes UK we use a no-scalpel technique. A fast-acting anaesthetic is given before the procedure to numb the area and the sperm-carrying tubes (vas deferens) are sealed using heat. There are no hormones and nothing to insert, no stitches are needed. The procedure is also thought to be less painful and less likely to cause complications than a conventional vasectomy. A form of sedation is also available at some of our centres and can be requested at the time of booking.
5. Will it take ages to recover?
The recovery involves little more than a few days of guilt-free rest and relaxation. You can start having sex as soon it feels comfortable to do so and should be fit to return to work and after a couple of days unless you have a very physically demanding job. If you are uncomfortable, a regular painkiller such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen should do the trick and since you have got your feet up thanks to doctor’s orders, why not book one in to coincide with some good TV? Olympics 2016 anyone?
6. What is the failure rate?
Vasectomy is more than 99% effective. Out of 2,000 men who are sterilized, only one will get a woman pregnant during the rest of his lifetime. However it takes a number of weeks to clear the tubes of sperm after the treatment, so you will need to use another method of contraception until you have been given the all clear. I ask you to ejaculate 15 times and then bring in a specimen for me to exam under the microscope.
7. How risky is it?
Vasectomy is a very common and safe procedure. It is always worth arming yourself with all the facts, but ultimately vasectomy is the safest permanent contraception method on earth. The potential complications are much rarer than for a woman getting her tubes tied and most men experience no problems whatsoever.
8. Can I reverse my vasectomy if I change my mind?
The decision to opt for a vasectomy remains a highly personal one in which the potential risks and benefits must be considered, including the possibility that you may change your mind. Vasectomy reversal is possible but success is not guaranteed and depends largely on how long ago it was done so it is much better to consider it a permanent procedure.
Bottom Line: A vasectomy is the most effective method of permanent contraception. The no-scalpel, no-needle technique is associated with less pain and discomfort, less blood loss, and a quicker return to normal activities than the conventional scalpel plus incision technique.