WHAT IS IT?
Vasectomy (also referred to as sterilization) provides permanent contraception for persons with penises. The most common technique prevents pregnancy by blocking the vas deferens (the tubes that carry the sperm to the penis). We do not do this procedure at HSHC, but we can provide a referral to a specialist that can.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Vasectomy is the most effective available mode of contraception for persons with penises. The procedure involves interruption or blockage of the vas deferens, preventing sperm from reaching the penis for ejaculation.
The vasectomy is a simple permanent procedure that is performed in a hospital using a general anesthetic, usually by a urologist:
- In a conventional vasectomy, one or two incisions are made in the scrotum to reach the vas deferens.
- A no-scalpel vasectomy is when a puncture opening is made in the scrotum.
- The tube (vas deferens) that joins the urethra is cut, clamped, cauterized or tied to prevent sperm from entering the semen.
- The procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes and is usually done under a local anesthetic in a doctor’s office or as an outpatient procedure in a hospital.
- Another form of birth control is required until a semen analysis is done and confirms that there are no sperm.
- A vasectomy causes no changes in the ability to ejaculate, as sperm make up less than 5% of the total volume of semen.
- Vasectomy has no effect on virility. The procedure doesn’t affect the testes’ production of testosterone. Sex drive, potency, masculine characteristics and sexual pleasure will remain the same.
Compared to tubal ligation, vasectomy is safer, less costly, and has a significantly shorter post-procedure recovery time. However, worldwide, tubal ligation is performed five times more often than vasectomy.
WHEN SHOULD I USE IT?
Vasectomy is not always reversible and is therefore most suitable for people who are certain they would not like to have a pregnancy or feel their family is complete.
Reversal of the vasectomy is possible by success rates decline with increasing time between vasectomy and reversal. For this reason, vasectomy should be undertaken only in persons who intend to have permanent sterility.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?
Vasectomy is primarily permanent, effective, affordable and offers low rates of complications. It is approximately 99.85% effective in preventing pregnancy.
ADVANTAGES VS DISADVANTAGES OF VASECTOMY:
- Simple procedure with few complications, and the recovery time is quick.
- No contraception routine required – nothing to remember.
- It is permanent.
- After the procedure is complete, it is a private form of birth control.
- No significant long-term side effects.
- Does not interfere with intercourse.
- Simple procedure, less invasive and more cost-effective than tubal ligation.
- Free for people who have Canadian medical coverage.
- No significant long term side effects, no interference with intercourse and nothing to remember
- Allows the partner with a penis to assume some responsibility for birth control.
- Many people report improved sexual desire and pleasure after a vasectomy as the risk for pregnancy has been permanently eliminated.
- Permanent, could possibly experience post-sterilization regret.
- Possible short-term surgery-related complications: abdominal discomfort; bruising, bleeding, or infection at incision site; reaction to anesthesia
- Does not protect against STIs.
- Not effective immediately. You will need to monitor sperm count for 3 months following the procedure and have a sperm count performed. Once it can be determined that there are no sperm present in ejaculate, it is considered an effective method.
- Can be difficult to have reversed, especially if it’s be a long time from the vasectomy.
- Possible short-term surgery-related complications: pain and swelling; vasovagal reaction; infection at incision site.
Remember vasectomies should be considered carefully, as they are permanent and reversal is not guaranteed.
The decision to have a vasectomy can be complex. Take time to assess your situation and make a decision. Be sure to discuss your thoughts and concerns openly and honestly with your partner(s).
Remember, a vasectomy does not protect you from STIs. You’ll still need to practice safer sex to protect yourself and your partners through the use of barrier methods.
HOW TO BOOK AND PREPARE YOURSELF FOR AN APPOINTMENT?
Booking an appointment with us is easy! Give us a call at 902.455.9656 ext. 0. You will be speaking with either a volunteer or a medical administrator. We cannot book appointments by email or Facebook. You cannot book an appointment for someone else, even if they are your partner or child. We will need to speak with the person directly. To book, we will need your full name, birth date, phone number, and a very brief reason for your visit. That’s it! The person on the phone will outline anything you need to know to prepare for your appointment. Our average wait time for an appointment is 4-6 weeks from the day you call. While we do not do vasectomy procedures, we can refer you to a specialist who can.
Make sure you bring your valid provincial health card with you to your appointment. Clients without health cards are subject to doctors and lab fees.
Don’t have access to or lost your health card? You are entitled to your health card information! Call MSI toll-free at 1-800-563-8880 (in Nova Scotia) or at 902-496-7008 from Monday-Friday 8am-5pm. We require the number and the expiry date. Another tip: take a picture of your card! You will never lose it again!