Sperm are made in the testicle, and then transported through the vas deferens to the outside world. The vas is a tunnel that the sperm swim through on their way out of the body. During a vasectomy, the vas is blocked off (typically using clips or ties), and a segment removed, so that the sperm effectively hit a “road block” and cannot get out of the body.
Vasectomies are performed in the clinic setting. The procedure takes between 30 and 60 minutes to complete. Most physicians use the No Scalpel Vasectomy or Minimally Invasive Vasectomy technique, as endorsed by the American Urological Association.
Here are the answers to some common questions about vasectomy:
- Are sperm still being made?
Yes, sperm are still being produced, because the testicles are still fully functional. They simply cannot get out of the body. The male body will re-absorb the sperm once they have completed their life span, similar to all other cells in the body.
- What is the pain like?
Most men compare the vasectomy to dental work. You feel the initial numbing injection, but everything after that is pain free. The next day, most men feel achy in the testicle region. By one week after the procedure, most men are back to a normal state.
- Does testosterone production change?
Quite simply, no. The testicles are still producing testosterone, which is being released into the blood stream. This blood supply is not altered by the vasectomy procedure.
- What are the risks of vasectomy?
The risks include: chronic pain, bleeding, infection, the need for repeat vasectomy, and unexpected pregnancy.
- Will my sexual performance change after vasectomy?
The majority of the volume of ejaculate is from the prostate, which is still present and functional. So the bulk of ejaculate fluid does not change. Large studies have shown that there is no change in sexual performance, or erection quality after vasectomy. Studies have actually shown that there is an improvement in relationship satisfaction after vasectomy, because couples can be intimate without fear of an unwanted pregnancy.
- Can I drive after my vasectomy?
If you take an oral sedative, such as valium, then you cannot drive after the vasectomy. If you do not take a sedative, driving is at your own discretion. We recommend that you have a ride, such as a family member or friend.
- What are the physical restrictions after vasectomy?
Because we want to minimize the risk of bruising or swelling, we recommend no lifting over 10 pounds for 2 weeks, and no gym or exercise for 2 weeks. Walking is encouraged after vasectomy.
- When can I have sexual intercourse after vasectomy?
You can have intercourse 1 week after the vasectomy procedure.
- When can my partner stop using birth control?
Vasectomies do not produce immediate sterility; there still sperm in the abdominal vas that need to be cleared. In fact, studies have shown that there are near normal numbers of sperm in the first few ejaculates after a vasectomy. We check for sperm in the ejaculate 2 months after the vasectomy. At that point if you are “cleared” your partner can stop using birth control.