Everything you need to know about male sterilization

male sterilization o-diaries

Ever considered male sterilization. This guide from O* Diaries answers all the main questions when it comes to getting a vasectomy.

Today we are looking at male sterilization, otherwise known as a vasectomy. A vasectomy is a form of permanent contraception often chosen by couples if they don’t want children, or any more children. But as with a lot of male health topics, there is not a wealth of decent information online, and you may not feel comfortable asking your friends about it.

So we have compiled a quick FAQ-style guide that answers the most common questions about male sterilization and how to decide if it is the right option for you. Remember, this guide is just an orientation and you should always consult a medical professional about the best options for you.

How does the vasectomy procedure work?

The male sterilization procedure involves a small surgery that cut or seal a man’s tubes that carry sperm to permanently prevent pregnancy. By preventing the sperm from entering man’s semen, eggs cannot be fertilized.

The conventional surgical procedure involves the doctor numbing your scrotum with a local anesthetic. Then, 2 small cuts are made on each side of your scrotum to gain access to the tubes that carry sperm to your testicles (vas deferens). Each tube is cut and a small section removed. The ends of the tubes are then closed, either by sealing them using heat or by tying them. The incisions are stitched. After around one week the dissolvable stitches usually go away on their own.

Is it reversible?

Yes, but there’s a catch. Reversing a vasectomy is actually quite a tricky procedure and the NHS (UK national health service) estimates the success rate of the reversal procedure at around 55% if you have had a vasectomy in the last 10 years, falling to just 25% after the 10-year mark.

Does it hurt?

Like many minor surgeries, you may experience mild swelling or discomfort particularly around the scrotum area. This pain should go away within 1-2 days after the procedure. It is also quite common to have a small amount of blood in the semen. You should avoid any heavy lifting or physical activity until the pain subsides. The good news is  you can have sex again as soon as it feels comfortable.

Do I need to use contraception after the operation?

Yes. Until doctors have confirmed the operation’s success you and your partner will need to use another form of contraception. This period usually lasts about 8-12 weeks after the operation.

How do I know if it has worked?

About 8-12 weeks after the procedure you will be asked to produce a sperm sample. The doctors will then check for the presence of sperm in the semen. If there are no sperm, the vasectomy was a success. Sometimes you may be asked to produce two samples for analysis.

Does a vasectomy affect sexual pleasure?

A vasectomy should not affect your sexual pleasure in any way. You will still be able to ejaculate like normal, only your semen won’t contain any sperm. This should not affect your ability to orgasm or feel sexual pleasure. For some couples, it can even unlock new levels of intimacy as contraception is no longer needed. In fact, there are no limits at all to your sexual pleasure post-vasectomy, including the use of sexual toys like wearables such as the Pivot and the Verge by We-Vibe.

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Can I have the operation if I’m single?

Yes, particularly if you are over 30. But it is at the surgeon’s discretion and some may be reluctant to carry out the procedure in case you regret it later on, particularly if you are younger and have not already had children.

Can I still produce sperm?

Yes. After the vasectomy your body still produces sperm. The only difference is that these sperm are harmlessly reabsorbed by the body, rather than transferred to the semen.

Does a vasectomy affect my hormone levels?

No. A vasectomy will not affect your abilities to produce hormones such as testosterone.

Are they any major health risks?

There are no known major health risks. As with all operations, there is a small risk of infection.

When is a vasectomy the right option?

Rather than saying who it is right for, here is a list of some of the advantages and disadvantages of getting a vasectomy.

Advantages:

  • 99% effective contraceptive procedure
  • Performed under local anesthetic and only takes 15 minutes
  • Considered safer than alternatives such as female sterilization
  • Long-term side effects are rare

Disadvantages:

  • Hard to reverse
  • May still need to wear condoms to protect against STIs
  • In some cases, you may experience testicular pain and need further surgery

So if you are sure you don’t want any more children, and you don’t want to use contraception during intercourse, a vasectomy may be the right option for you. But the most important thing is that you consult a medical professional and that you feel comfortable with your decision.

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Author

Tom has written about pretty much everything from robots taking over the world to prisons in Bolivia. Now, he is turning his attention to the wonderful world of sex in all its guises. Through his writing, he aims to create an open-minded dialogue on topics such as sex positivity, sexual identity, and the ever-changing notion of masculinity.