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Vasectomy: Care Instructions

Male reproductive system

Your Care Instructions

A vasectomy is an operation to make a man sterile, or not able to make a woman pregnant. During a vasectomy, a doctor cuts or blocks the tubes, called the vas deferens, that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis. This keeps sperm from reaching a woman's egg to make a baby when ejaculation occurs during sex. A vasectomy is a simple procedure that can be done at your doctor's office or clinic.

A vasectomy will not change your ability to have sex or your sex drive. You will still be able to enjoy sex in the same way as before. You will still produce normal amounts of semen when you climax. The only difference is that the semen will not contain sperm.

Vasectomy is considered a permanent method of birth control. You should only consider a vasectomy if you have completed your family or are sure that you do not want children.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens during a vasectomy?

  • Your genital area will be washed with soap that kills germs. The area may be shaved.
  • You may be given medicine to relax you and make you sleepy.
  • You will get a shot to numb the area at the scrotum, where your doctor will make one or two small cuts. The scrotum is the skin sac that holds the testicles.
  • The doctor reaches the tube, which is just under the skin, through the small cut. The doctor seals, ties, or cuts each tube. The small cuts may be stitched closed. If you had a no-scalpel vasectomy, you may not have stitches at all.
  • The procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes. You can expect some swelling and minor pain for several days. You will be given instructions after the procedure.

Why might you choose a vasectomy?

  • You do not want to have a child in the future. Your partner agrees with this decision. Vasectomy is considered a permanent procedure.
  • Vasectomy is a very effective form of birth control. (But it is not 100% effective.)
  • You want to spare your partner from having a tubal sterilization. Sterilization for women involves surgery, has more risks, and is more expensive.

Why would you choose not to have a vasectomy?

  • You want to avoid surgery and the risks that come with surgery.
  • Vasectomy is permanent. Some men may not want to limit their option to have children in case of possible life changes such as divorce.
  • Having a vasectomy may slightly increase your risk for prostate cancer.
  • You may have other reasons. These may include your religious beliefs or what your partner wants.

When should you call for help?

Be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You need more information about vasectomy.
  • You want to have a vasectomy.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.