Sterilization Techniques For Men
There are several methods to prevent undesired pregnancies; broadly classified into temporary and permanent contraceptive techniques. Most temporary methods rely on preventing the fusion of sperm and egg, via barrier method (such as condoms, use of spermicidal jellies, vaginal diaphragms etc.) or chemical method (such as administration of hormones to disrupt the biochemical balance needed for fertilization and implantation of zygote). However, the inconvenience, cost and high failure rate of temporary birth control methods is often a nuisance for sexually active couples who have completed their families.
What Should You Know About Vasectomy?
Permanent birth control methods are ideal for couples who are looking for a safe, permeant and cost-effective solution. In addition, there are some couples who don’t want to procreate because of a preexisting medical or genetic condition. According to a new study reported in the Journal of Jahrom University of Medical Sciences (1), investigators analyzed the data obtained from 700 men who underwent vasectomy procedure and concluded that:
- Mean age of men who opt for vasectomy was 39.8±7.5 years and of their partners was 32.5±6.01 years
- In about 75% cases, men undergoing vasectomy have 3 or more children.
- According to statistics, 80% couples choose vasectomy because they have enough children and more than 62% choose vasectomy because of permanent results.
- In about 96% cases, health professionals suggest vasectomy to couples. According to another study, men choose vasectomy on the advice of their friends in 40% cases.
Vasectomy is the key male sterilization procedure in which vasa deferentia (a tube that transfers sperms to the penis) is severed to restrict the entry of sperms in the semen. Since this procedure is permanent, the success rate is pretty high. According to statistics, the risk of pregnancy after vasectomy is less than 1%.
As compared to female sterilization, vasectomy is much simpler and can easily be performed at the doctor’s office or clinic. Although it prevents pregnancy but it cannot prevent the transmission of sexual diseases.
The whole procedure takes about 15 minutes and can be performed in an out-patient setting. The process involves cutting of scrotal skin to expose the sperm tube or vasa deferentia. Once exposed, the doctor can either severe the distal end or ligate the duct to prevent the transfer of sperms.
Usually after the vasectomy, you are asked to rest at the clinic for a while before discharge. To comfort the pain and swelling, pain killers and ice packs are suggested for a couple of days. Other post-procedure instructions include:
- Bathing is strictly prohibited for two days.
- Men should wear scrotal support for up to 1 week.
- Sexual activity can be resumed after a week. However, it is imperative to mention that sperms may continue to appear in the semen for 4 – 6 weeks after the procedure. Therefore it is very important to rely on an effective birth control method until your 2 semen sample tests negative for viable sperms.
After vasectomy, swelling and bruising are normal which goes away spontaneously within a week but if you are experiencing symptoms like bleeding, pain, fever or chills; you should immediately speak to a doctor. Sometimes vasectomy fails because there are chances that the cut ends of sperm tube rejoin and allow mixing of sperm in the semen. Therefore, one must take precautions during sexual intercourse until two sperm count tests give negative results.
This procedure can be reversed in some selective cases, by rejoining the severed ends of sperm tube, but the fertility is usually sub-normal. Therefore opt for permanent sterilization techniques only if you are absolutely sure. The earlier reversal is associated with a higher fertility.
Pros And Cons
The advantage of vasectomy are immense; for example, even though it is a permanent sterilization technique, it doesn’t hinder your sexual activity or pleasures. In addition the amount of fluid ejaculated doesn’t change either. Moreover it is less complicated than female sterilization technique and doesn’t creates any long term mess.
On the other hand, the procedure has some disadvantages too, as it is not immediately effective. Some people also develop infection or significant bruising (which often resolves spontaneously). Sometimes, it is not possible to reverse the process which might lead to regrets in the future.
Before making a decision, make sure to think carefully and consider all possible consequences such as divorce, or death of partner or later desire of another child.
1. Zahedi, R., Abdollahifard, K., & Rahmanian, M. (2014). Factors affecting choice of vasectomy (sterilization) in Jahrom City. Journal of Jahrom University of Medical Sciences, 11.
2. Shih, G., Dubé, K., & Dehlendorf, C. (2013). “We never thought of a vasectomy”: a qualitative study of men and women’s counseling around sterilization. Contraception, 88(3), 376-381.
3. Code, C. P. T. (2015). Vasectomy is a one-time sterilization technique. It is simple and safe. Vasectomy closes the tubes in the scrotum so that sperm cannot be transported to the penis. It does not interfere with sexual relations or impair sexual functioning. Vasectomy is considered a permanent procedure and is not easily reversible. Approximately a 50% rate of pregnancy occurs after reversal of a vasectomy. Advancing Practice Nursing Procedures, 289.