The Hidden Myths Behind Vasectomies


Men get a little funny when you talk about the word “vasectomy”. They almost get a tingling in their groin, as the thought of a scalpel going anywhere near their private parts is enough to make even the burliest man break out into a clammy sweat.

Here we’ll talk about the misconceptions which make men hesitant to undergo this safe but often misunderstood procedure.

What Is A Vasectomy?

For men who want to be sterilized, there is only one option: a vasectomy. A vasectomy is a form of contraception that involves surgically cutting or blocking the tubes that transport sperm from the testicles to the penis.After a vasectomy, when a man ejaculates semen during sex, it no longer contains sperm, which is needed to fertilize a woman’s egg if she wants to get pregnant.

There are different types of vasectomies including a conventional vasectomy and a no-scalpel vasectomy. A conventional vasectomy involves two small cuts on both sides of the scrotum, allowing the surgeon to go in and break off a section of the tubes that transport sperm, called the vas deferens. The vas deferens are then sealed or tied and the cuts are stitched up.

In a no-scalpel vasectomy, “a no needle anesthetic” called a jet injector is used and never penetrates the skin. Additionally, no cutting is involved — a special instrument is used to make a single small skin opening. This procedure is less invasive and uncomfortable.

The procedure can be performed in a doctor’s office or hospital setting, usually under local anesthesia and only takes between 20 – 30 minutes. Swelling and discomfort may last for a couple of days.

Myths About Vasectomies

Although many men are hesitant to have anyone touch “the family jewels” or to “shoot blanks”, there is no difference in the amount of ejaculate produced since only 3% of ejaculate is even made up of sperm. There is also no difference is sexual function – often men confuse sterility with impotence. Impotence is a type of erectile dysfunction that makes it difficult to maintain an erection necessary for a satisfactory sexual intercourse.Hormone levels, blood flow and your ability to get an erection after a vasectomy do not change. In fact, studies have shown that vasectomies often improve sexual performance because the procedure results in a slight increase in testosterone levels.

Vasectomies should be considered a permanent method of birth control, not a procedure that can be easily reversed. While a vasectomy can be reversed with microsurgery in many cases, a patient should only have a vasectomy if he is certain that he does not want more children since they are not always successful. Know that the operation to reverse a vasectomy is much more complicated than the original vasectomy. It requires a general anesthetic and can take four to five hours.

Failure Rates With Vasectomies

Is it foolproof? No. Approximately one in 100 vasectomies may fail to prevent pregnancywithin five years of the procedure. One reason occurs when sperm find a new way to enter the vas and make their way into the ejaculate, a process called recanalization. However, many times the failure is a result of operator error. Know that you are NOT sterile immediately after the procedure. If often takes a minimum of 10 weeks for all sperm to clear. Approximately three months after the procedure, men must do a follow-up test called a semen analysis to make sure no sperm is being produced. Before this test, a back-up method of birth control is advised.

For couples who have decided they do not want any more children or never want children at all, the question always arises: who should get fixed – the male or the female? All of the options should be explored for both men and women. Without a doubt, tubal ligations for women outnumber vasectomies for men almost three to one. According to the CDC, about 16% of reproductive-age women had opted for tubal sterilization in 2002, compared to 6% whose partner had had a vasectomy

The decision to have a vasectomy is an important one and should only be made after careful thought. Although 2 to 6 percent — between 10,000 and 30,000 men a year –have their vasectomies reversed, never enter into it with he thought of reversing it.

About The Author

Jeffrey A. Kasky, Esq. is a Florida adoption lawyer and Vice President of One World Adoption Services, Inc., a Florida-licensed not-for-profit child placing agency. Jeff’s diverse career experiences include co-authoring the book, “99 Things You Wish You Knew Before … Choosing Adoption” with Robert A. Kasky, Florida-certified law enforcement officer, and involvement in the autism community, including a TV show focused on helping families with legal issues related to autism called “Spectrum at Law” on The Autism Channel. A practicing attorney since 1995, he has worked on more than one thousand adoption cases.