The 3 Most Important Facts to Know Before Getting a Vasectomy

Thinking about closing up shop? This is what you need to know.

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There comes a time when most fathers think about doing the unthinkable — getting a vasectomy. And despite a strong motive for wanting one — no more kids, please! — the thought of actually doing so it still pretty cringe-worthy. There’s a reason less than three percent of the global population relies on a dude’s vasectomy for contraception. Great in theory, not so much when it comes time to actually get snipped.

So, why do so few men go through with it? First, let’s address the myths. For one, there’s no link to prostate cancer, despite what you might have heard. Yet another study recently showed that there is no connection between prostate cancer and getting snipped.

Second, advances in medical knowledge and techniques have reduced the percentage of men complaining of post-op pain to 1-2 percent, and even that is treatable. So the biggest complaint of sore testicles for a few months isn’t even a strong argument anymore. “If a man is confident that he does not want any children in the future, there is no real good reason not to have a vasectomy,” says Dr. Robert Mordkin, Chief of Urology and Director of Robotic Surgery at Virginia Hospital Center.

So, there you go, no more excuses. Feel free to call your doctor or schedule your procedure. But before you do, here are three things you still need to keep in mind.

It’s no big deal

Unlike the tubal ligation for a woman that requires general anesthesia and a longer recovery time, getting a vasectomy can take as little as ten minutes and is done as an outpatient procedure. “We perform it on a Friday so the patient can rest at home over the weekend,” says Dr. Mordkin. “They are back at work on Monday, and usually a week later are able to resume exercise and sexual activity.” Best of all, almost all U.S. insurance companies cover the cost of the procedure.

That pistol is still loaded

Once you are able to return to sexual activity, you must proceed with caution for the first few months. The doctor has stopped the ability for sperm to enter your vas deferens (the tube that conveys them to your ejaculate) near the scrotum, but it is up to you to empty the live sperm that is still locked and loaded. “We tell patients they need to have at least twenty ejaculations after the procedure before the pipes are completely clean,” says Mordkin. Until you get the all-clear from your doctor, make sure you continue to use birth control.

There is no going back

You should not even consider getting a vasectomy if you think there is a slight chance you might want to eventually reverse it. First, most insurance companies won’t cover the procedure and it can be quite expensive, ranging in cost from $2,000 to $25,000. Secondly, there is no guarantee that it will be successful, as studies show that the odds of complete recovery to pre-vasectomy levels of sperm range anywhere from 30-70 percent. There are a number of factors that can decrease the amount of sperm after a reversal. “This is a permanent fix,” says Mordkin. “If you think someday you might want to reverse it, don’t get it done.”

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