Effectiveness in Preventing Pregnancy
- In couples where the man has a vasectomy, about one woman out of 100 will get pregnant.
- Male sterilization is effective for a lifetime
- A minor out-patient surgical procedure where the tubes that carry sperm are permanently blocked off
Clinic Visit Required
- Yes, done by a health care provider as an out-patient procedure (you go home the same day)
How do I get it?
A vasectomy can be done in a medical office or clinic. It is an out-patient procedure, so a man can go home the same day. To search for a family planning clinic near you, use the Clinic Locator.
It is done by a health care provider making tiny cuts (called incisions) in the scrotum (the sac that holds the testicles or "balls"). Then the tubes that carry sperm (that get a woman pregnant) to the penis are tied off and cut. A man first gets a shot to numb the area, so he does not feel anything during the procedure.
Some men receive a no-scalpel vasectomy where, instead of cutting the scrotum, very tiny holes are made. The tubes that carry sperm are pulled through the holes and tied off and cut. A no-scalpel vasectomy does not require stitches.
After a vasectomy, a man will still produce fluid (semen) that comes out of his penis when he has sex. A few months after the procedure he goes back to the clinic so a doctor or nurse can check and make sure no sperm can be found in his semen. There might be some sperm in the semen for a short while after the vasectomy, so a man should use another type of birth control (like a condom) until the doctor or nurse says it is safe.
Drawbacks of male sterilization
- Provides no protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Requires a visit to a clinic or medical office
- There is a risk of swelling, bruising, and tenderness for a short time after the procedure
- Very rarely, the tubes that carry sperm can grow back together. When this happens there is a risk for pregnancy
- Some men, or their partners, later change their mind and wish they could have a child or additional children