A vasectomy is a type of male sterilization.

A vasectomy is a procedure that involves the surgical separation of the tubes that transport sperm from the testicles through the penis via the urethra. It’s a nearly 100 percent effective option with minimal risks.

  • It’s a highly effective procedure that does not prevent a man from having an ejaculation.
  • The only difference is that semen will no longer contain the components necessary to fertilize an egg in a female partner.

Reasons for a Vasectomy

Most men choose to have this type of outpatient procedure as a permanent birth control solution. A vasectomy is also a less risky and more affordable option than the female alternative, a tubal ligation.

Common Misconceptions

As far as common myths or misconceptions go, there is no proven link between vasectomies and testicular cancer or heart disease. While there were previous reports suggesting such a connection, there hasn’t been any credible evidence since. Additionally, the procedure does not affect masculinity, sexual performance, or sexual desire.


Standard Procedure

Usually performed under local anesthesia, a standard vasectomy is done with a small incision in the upper portion of the scrotum, which is numbed with a local anesthetic. The tube that carries semen from the testicles, the vas deferens, is pulled through the incision and cut. It’s then sealed with heat (cauterized), tied, or blocked off with surgical clips. Stitches are used to close the incision, unless it’s decided to leave the wound open to naturally heal.

No-Incision Option

A no-incision vasectomy is so-named because it’s done with a small puncture or hole in the scrotum instead of an incision. In order to reach the vas deferens to perform the necessary cut, the hole is widened with forceps. The tube is then seal or blocked after it’s separated. Men opting for this version of a vasectomy typically benefit from minimal infection risk and less discomfort post-procedure.


It usually takes about anywhere from 10-15 minutes to about half an hour to complete a vasectomy. Immediately after the procedure, there may be some swelling and discomfort, although this usually goes away within a few days. During the initial healing period, men are advised to support the scrotum by wearing snug underwear or using a bandage. Applying ice to the area may also help ease discomfort from swelling. Strenuous activities should be avoided for a day or two.

Resuming Sexual Activity

Men will not have immediate protection from pregnancy following a vasectomy. Before having unprotected sex, men will need to have several ejaculations to ensure that semen is free of sperm. Follow-up evaluations normally done 6-12 weeks post-procedure include a semen analysis to confirm that no sperm is present in ejaculate. Vasectomies do not provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases. For this reason, precautions will still need to be taken in situations where there is a risk of acquiring an STD.

Nearly half a million men have this procedure each year in the United States. However, it’s important for patients to be sure it’s the right step since the reversal process tends to be more complex. If there is a possibility of wishing to father a child in the future, another option for men is to consider having a viable sample stored at a sperm bank before going forward with a vasectomy.