Vasectomy

A vasectomy is a permanent birth control method designed to leave a man sterile or unable to father a child. A vasectomy prevents the passage of sperm to semen. Sperm are needed to make a woman pregnant. Semen is the fluid that transports sperm.

All vasectomy techniques involve blocking the right and left vas deferens so that a man’s ejaculate will no longer contain sperm. The vas deferens is the tube that transports sperm from each testicle to the prostate and seminal vesicles, where it mixes with semen. Men who have a vasectomy still produce sperm, but with no place to go, sperm are absorbed by the body.

A vasectomy does not affect a man’s libido (sexual desire) or his ability to have an erection, and it is not associated with any increased risk of cancer. Men who have a vasectomy should not experience a significant decrease in semen.

Treatment

Conventional vasectomy. Involves a local anesthetic and two incisions on either side of the scrotum. The vas deferens is cut and sealed to prevent sperm passage. Possible complications include bruising, swelling and infection.

No-scalpel no-stitch vasectomy. A safe and minimally invasive approach that is quicker, has less pain and a lower complication rate than a conventional vasectomy. Using a special instrument, the urologist makes one tiny puncture in the scrotum, the sac-like structure that holds the testicles. The puncture is gently stretched so the vas deferens can be exposed, severed and sealed. This procedure involves a local anesthetic.

Because some ‘stealth’ sperm may lurk beyond the point of separation, birth-control measures are advised until a post-vasectomy semen analysis indicates that sperm count is zero.

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