Vasectomy is a surgical procedure performed for men as a permanent form of contraception. It involves cutting or sealing the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra. By blocking this pathway, sperm cannot mix with semen during ejaculation, effectively preventing the ability to cause pregnancy.
Vasectomy is typically considered for people with male reproductive systems who are certain they do not want to father children or have completed their desired family size. It is a safe and highly effective method of birth control for couples seeking a permanent solution to prevent pregnancy.
Before undergoing a vasectomy, you will receive preoperative instructions, which may include:
- If you are in a relationship, discuss the decision with your partner to ensure both parties are in agreement.
- Ensuring you understand the permanence of the procedure and have no plans for future children.
- Informing your doctor about any medications, allergies, or medical conditions.
- Avoiding aspirin or other blood-thinning medications for a few days before the procedure to reduce bleeding risks.
Dr Moar performs the vasectomy procedure in the operating theatre. It typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes. The steps include:
- General Anaesthesia or Sedation: To decrease awareness of the procedure while it is being performed.
- Local Anaesthesia: The scrotum is numbed with a local anaesthetic to minimise discomfort during and in the hours after the procedure.
- Accessing the Vas Deferens: Two small incisions will be made in the scrotum to access the vas deferens.
- Cutting or sealing the vas deferens to prevent sperm from passing through.
- Closing the incisions: The incisions are usually closed with dissolvable stitches or surgical glue.
After the vasectomy procedure, patients are advised to follow specific postoperative instructions, which may include:
- Rest and avoid strenuous activities for a few days.
- Apply ice packs to reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Wear supportive underwear for the first few days to minimise movement.
- Abstain from sexual activity or use alternative contraception methods until the absence of sperm is confirmed by a follow-up semen analysis.
- Attend follow-up appointments to monitor recovery and confirm the success of the procedure.
While vasectomy is generally a safe procedure, it does carry some risks. These may include infection at the incision site, hematoma (blood clot) formation, persistent pain or discomfort in the testicles, sperm granuloma (a lump caused by leaked sperm), and failure of the procedure, leading to ongoing fertility.
If a person with a male reproductive system is not certain about permanent contraception or wants the possibility of future fertility, alternative methods of birth control can be considered. An alternative to vasectomy is condoms, barrier methods of contraception that can prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Alternatively, there are various contraceptive methods that can be employed by a person with female reproductive organs in a heterosexual relationship, including oral contraceptives, intrauterine Devices (IUDs), or tubal ligation.
Before deciding on a vasectomy, individuals and couples should discuss their options with a qualified healthcare professional to make an informed decision based on their unique circumstances and reproductive goals.