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A vasectomy is one of the most reliable forms of birth control, with results that are nearly 100% effective for preventing pregnancy. The procedure prevents sperm to enter semen, but does not affect any other sexual functions.

How is a vasectomy performed?

Vasectomies are performed in office, under light sedation. The vas deferens is a tube that carries sperm from the testes to the urethra. A vasectomy cuts the vas deferens, removes a small segment, then closes the two ends. This prevents the sperm from getting into the semen.

The surgeon will make a small incision in each scrotum, pull the tubes through the incision, cut them and tie the ends.

What should I expect after a vasectomy?

Discomfort and swelling is normal after a vasectomy. You will receive instructions from your provider on how to care for the incision site. You may need to use cold packs and take over-the-counter pain medications.

You will need to limit activities for a few days, however most men are cleared to return to usual activities within a week, including sexual intercourse.

Birth control after vasectomies

After your vasectomy, you are not sterile right away. It will take a few months for the sperm that were in the vas deferens before the procedure to pass through the reproductive tract. As a rule of thumb, it will take about three months or around 20 ejaculations to clear out the sperm.

Your urologist is able to check sperm samples and inform you when it is safe to have unprotected intercourse. Until then, you should use another form of birth control to prevent pregnancy.

Can my vasectomy be reversed?

Vasectomies are intended to be permanent, however it is usually possible to reverse the procedure. The success rate is based on other factors, such as the length of time since the procedure.