When it comes to sexually active men and pregnancy prevention, there are not a whole lot of options on the table. Other than condoms and the withdrawal method, a vasectomy is a man’s only other choice for birth control. This method is nearly 100% effective, much more effective than condoms or most female contraceptive options.
The only thing is, it’s permanent. So you’ve got to make sure you feel strongly about your decision before proceeding. If you’ve decided that you’re done fathering children for good, then a vasectomy as a permanent form of pregnancy prevention might be coming up in the near future.
A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure with a speedy recovery time where a doctor cuts, removes small segments, and seals off the vas deferens so that sperm no longer make their way into a man’s ejaculate. So, if you’ve decided to make the call—below, we’ll cover what to expect when you schedule your vasectomy.
The first step to getting a vasectomy is what you’re doing right now: researching the process. You may not have committed to the procedure yet, but you’re learning about the process. You should consider all aspects to make the most informed decision about whether or not to get a vasectomy. Here are a handful of things to look into:
Once you’ve decided that a vasectomy is the best option for you, then the next thing to do is proceed with scheduling an appointment to consult with a Urologist.
Most men don’t have an established Urologist. In that case, call your regular primary care physician to request a referral to a specialist who performs the vasectomy procedure. It’s likely that you’ll need to schedule a pre-vasectomy consultation appointment before coming in for the actual procedure.
During your consultation, your doctor will discuss with you things like:
Pre-procedural instructions include things like avoiding certain medications that may thin the blood and increase bleeding before the procedure, such as aspirin. You may also be asked to shave your scrotum a few days before arriving for the procedure.
At the end of your consultation, you’ll be able to schedule your appointment to have the procedure done.
Most often, vasectomies are done in a standard doctor's office, and you’re able to go home right afterward. Before your appointment, read your pre-procedure instructions again to ensure you’ve followed all of your doctor’s instructions. Plan ahead and have a friend or family member drive you to your appointment so that you have a safe ride home.
On the day of the appointment, dress comfortably in loose-fitting clothes with brief-style underwear to hold the gauze in place. Gauze is used as an extra layer of protection over your incisions and to soak up any drops of blood or fluids.
You can expect the entire procedure to take around 30 minutes. Your doctor will begin by having you undress and applying a local anesthetic to the scrotum, where he will make one or two incisions to access the vas deferens. The most painful part is over after the injection of the anesthetic. From there, patients will have some temporary discomfort, including tugging and mild nausea, while the doctor performs the procedure of cutting and sealing off each vas deferens.
After about half an hour, you’re free to go home and recover.
You’ll want to clear your calendar for the day plus one or two days after your procedure and spend this time resting on the couch or in bed. You’ll experience some mild aching, swelling, and bruising during this time, which should get better over the next week. Over-the-counter pain medications are usually recommended during this time to ease your discomfort and reduce swelling.
After about a week of taking it easy, you can begin to return to your normal activities, including physically demanding work or exercise. Followup appointments directly after the procedure are uncommon unless there are complications. Be sure to report any concerns to your doctor. Congratulations, if you’re this far, the hardest part is over.
Now, over the next three months, you’ll want to use backup methods of birth control, such as condoms, because your vasectomy is not immediately effective. It can take several months for all of your body’s sperm to leave your seminal fluid for good. But don’t worry, this is only a temporary precaution, and you can stop using the backup as soon as you complete the last step of the process: getting confirmation of a successful vasectomy.
The last step after getting a vasectomy is the most important one. This step verifies that the procedure was successful. To confirm a successful vasectomy, you’ll need to have a lab test done that shows a sperm count of zero.
Wait about 12 weeks after the procedure to get your post vasectomy semen analysis done. My Virtual Physician has partnered with Orchid Crew. They offer an at-home post-vasectomy confirmation kit for just over $100. That’s right—you can collect your semen from the privacy of your own home and have it sent to a CLIA-accredited lab to confirm azoospermia (no sperm in semen).
Using the five steps outlined above, you can see the whole vasectomy process from start to finish. Once you’ve completed your post-vasectomy confirmation, you’re officially good to go! If you recently had a vasectomy and wish to speak with a doctor online about your recovery or testing options, schedule an appointment with My Virtual Physician today.