A vasectomy, also known as male sterilization, is a surgical procedure designed to protect against pregnancy permanently. The procedure is a simple surgery that is performed by a doctor in an office, hospital, or clinic. During the procedure, the tubes in your scrotum that carry sperm are cut or permanently blocked off so that sperm is no longer able to leave your body and cause pregnancy. The procedure is extremely quick, and most patients return home the same day. A vasectomy is also highly effective in preventing pregnancy – nearly 100 percent effective.

How it works:

In a vasectomy, your physician cuts the two vas deferens to prevent sperm from traveling from the testes to the penis. This is the only change in the reproductive system. The testes still produce sperm, but since the sperm have nowhere to go, they die and are absorbed by your body. Your prostate and seminal vesicles still produce fluids, so your semen doesn’t look or feel different.

There is no conclusive evidence that vasectomy causes health problems. Hormone levels remain the same, so your hair distribution, the pitch of your voice and your sexual drive are unchanged. Also, sterilization will not affect your ability to have erections or orgasms, and doesn’t visibly change your semen. Note, however, that having a vasectomy does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.

What Should You Consider Before Having a Vasectomy?

The decision to have a vasectomy is one that you should make carefully. Having as much information as you can will help you thoughtfully determine if now is the right time for you. Keep in mind:

A vasectomy is not major surgery, but it is a little more complex than say, getting a cavity filled.
This procedure is safer, simpler, and less expensive than the female alternative.
You will need to avoid strenuous exercise for roughly a week, but within a day or 2, you should be back to normal.
A vasectomy does not affect your ability to climax. It is just that you will not pass any sperm through the vas deferens to be blended with the seminal fluid.
If you are certain you are done having kids, this is the most effective form of birth control.


You may experience swollen, achy testicles for a week or so after the procedure. You may also notice some bruising in the scrotum. Physicians recommend that you lie down for six to eight hours after the procedure and keep an ice pack on the incision. In the five days after surgery, patients should avoid heavy lifting, exercise or sexual intercourse. You may notice a small, bloody discharge from the incision site, but this is normal. Remember that usually it takes a few months before sterility is complete, and 15 to 20 ejaculations are required to clear viable sperm from the reproductive system. You should use birth control until your physician determines you are completely sterile.

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