A vasectomy is a procedure for male birth control. It entails cutting and sealing the tubes that carry the sperm from the testicles to the semen. That means that ejaculations will no longer carry sperm, preventing conception during sexual intercourse.
The procedure presents a very low risk of complications. In general, doctors can carry it out under local anesthesia with no hospital stay required. While it is an effective means of birth control, a vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
It is possible to restore the cut tubes through a procedure called a vasectomy reversal. While this is the case, anyone undergoing a vasectomy should consider the procedure permanent. Complications could arise that prevent a reversal, so only men who are sure they will not wish to father a child should get a vasectomy.
A vasectomy is a common choice of birth control for men who are sure they do not wish to have children. The procedure is nearly 100 percent effective, with very rare cases of mishandled procedures leaving tubes intact to carry sperm.
For couples, a vasectomy for the male partner is often the preferred choice to tubal ligation for the female partner. A vasectomy is less risky, less expensive, and more convenient in most cases than tubal ligation. A vasectomy is also less costly and more reliable than other female birth control options such as oral contraceptives.
There are some potential side effects of the procedure, including bleeding inside the scrotum, blood in the semen, and mild pain or swelling. Most men don’t experience notable side effects.