07 Apr Vasectomy
Male sterilization, or vasectomy, is a surgical procedure that involves cutting and tying the tubes called vas deferens that carry sperm from the testicles to the seminal vesicles (store room for the sperm) behind the urinary bladder.
Vasectomy is usually done under local anaesthesia. A tiny incision is made on each side of the scrotum. The vas deferens is identified, tied and cut.
It works by preventing the sperm from entering the semen which is produced mainly in the seminal vesicles and prostate. The total amount of seminal fluid is not affected, as sperms account for only 2-5 per cent of ejaculated fluid. The sperms which are still produced by the testicles but cannot travel along the vas deferens are reabsorbed by the body.
Male sterilization is 99.9% effective in preventing a pregnancy. However, as there are still sperms left in the seminal vesical, it will not be effective in contraception till about 2-3 months later, when the semen is analyzed for the presence of sperm. In the interim period, other contraception methods should be used. In some cases (0.1% or less), the vas may reopen and the man may become fertile again.
Vasectomy is a permanent method of contraception. Reversal of his vasectomy has a success rate of pregnancy of only 45-60 percent.
The advantages of vasectomy are that:
- it is reliable and permanent;
- it does not interfere with erection, sexual potency, hormone production or ejaculation;
- it does not interfere with spontaneity of sex;
- it is a quick and simple procedure; and
- There should be no long-term side effects.
The disadvantages of vasectomy include the following:
- It is not effective immediately and may take 2-3 months (or 16-20 ejaculations), before all the sperm have been cleared from the seminal vesicles.
- There may be short-term discomfort such as pain, bruising or swelling following the procedure.
- There may be complications such as bleeding, infection or an inflammatory reaction to sperm leakage.