A Vasectomy is a minor out-patient procedure performed to intentionally cause sterility for long term birth control. Approximately 500,000 vasectomies are performed in the United States annually. In its simplest terms, a vasectomy is the division of the vas deferens tube (the tube that carries sperm cells from the testicles to the urethra). This division permanently blocks the flow of sperm leaving the man with an ejaculate that is visibly the same though contains no sperm cells and therefore cannot cause pregnancy. Historically, this procedure was performed using one or 2 small ½ – ¾ inch incisions (there is a right tube and a left tube) which were then closed with several stitches.
A vasectomy does not affect a man’s erections, testosterone level, sexual drive or the appearance/ volume of the ejaculate.
Because the tubes on the testicle and urethra side of the vasectomy site are full of sperm cells at the time of the procedure, a man is not sterile immediately after a vasectomy. It takes, on average, 3 months for the tube to completely empty of live, normal sperm cells. THEREFORE, one must continue to use birth control until a microscopic exam of the ejaculate proves that the desired result of sterility has been achieved. (Pregnancy in the first 6 weeks after a vasectomy is not uncommon in couples who forget this issue and is your responsibility!)