Choosing the right birth control method isn’t easy, especially with all of the options available today. However, each form comes with different rates of pregnancy protection, and they can vary drastically because of human error.
One method that offers the greatest convenience and reliability involves sterilization — second only to abstinence. In men, the procedure to accomplish this is a vasectomy.
During a vasectomy, your doctor severs the vas deferens, which prevents sperm from reaching your seminal fluid. Without sperm present when you ejaculate, you can’t fertilize an egg.
However, unlike using condoms or birth control pills, you can’t stop using a vasectomy if you decide you want children. Instead, you would have to explore a vasectomy reversal procedure, and pregnancy success rates in these cases can vary from 30-70%.
Our expert team at Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina understands that getting a vasectomy is a big decision. They often ask their patients these questions to determine whether they’re a good candidate.
Birth control is a very personal choice, especially when it involves permanent solutions like sterilization. However, it’s crucial to think about how this option also impacts your partner — or future partners — to ensure you’re on the same page.
We recommend discussing the procedure and identifying your reasons for making this choice, which can help confirm whether it’s the best option.
Technically, of course, age doesn’t matter when deciding on a vasectomy. The number of candles on your birthday cake doesn’t dictate whether you want to be a parent. However, life can change unexpectedly, so it’s important to think about how that could affect your reproductive goals in the future.
When you’re in your early 20s, it’s easy to assume you’ll never want children. You could even have the same response after having your second or third child. However, it’s just as easy to change your mind in 10-20 years — or after experiencing life-changing events, like losing a spouse or child.
No matter where you’re at in life, if you have even the tiniest interest in having children, it’s best to postpone a vasectomy.
Sometimes, a driving force for sterilization involves the fear of passing on certain genetic conditions. Many of these conditions require genes from both parents, but some require genes from only one parent, such as:
If you have concerns about passing on genetic conditions, we recommend consulting with a genetic counselor who can help measure the risks before having a vasectomy.
Approximately 50 million American men have undergone a vasectomy. Of these numbers, around 5% include married couples in their reproductive years. That’s because this simple outpatient procedure comes with few side effects or risks of complications.
It’s also much cheaper than female sterilization or the long-term costs associated with birth control solutions, like medications or condoms.
Plus, undergoing a vasectomy is foolproof, so you don’t have to worry about putting on a condom before having sex or whether your partner is taking their birth control consistently.
However, the vasectomy offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases, so you should still practice safe sex if there is a risk of contracting an STD.
It’s also important to note that a vasectomy doesn’t provide pregnancy prevention immediately — it can take 15 ejaculations or 6-12 weeks to clear sperm from your semen. As a result, you should wait to have unprotected sex.
To ensure full protection from unintended pregnancy, we test your ejaculate at our office to confirm sperm are no longer present.
Do you think you’re a good candidate for a vasectomy? Contact our office in Wilmington, North Carolina, to schedule a consultation by calling 910-421-2505 or requesting a visit online today.