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What are the Pros and Cons of Getting a Vasectomy?

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  • Written By: Rhonda Rivera
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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Like any medical procedure, getting a vasectomy has both pros and cons. For example, a positive aspect of the procedure is that it is usually performed as an out-patient surgery without need for an overnight stay at a hospital. It is also one of the most effective forms of birth control, out-performing condoms, birth control pills, and tubal ligation, which is sterilization for women. A vasectomy procedure is not a perfect form of birth control, however, and typically leaves the male with a slight chance of releasing sperm. In addition, the surgery sometimes causes the male patient to suffer from chronic pain.

One pro of getting a vasectomy is that it is considered a minor surgery, and usually does not require more than a local anesthetic to numb the patient’s scrotum. Sometimes the patient is given medication to reduce anxiety, which may make him sleepy and unable to completely recall the procedure. The surgery is then performed with the patient fully or partially awake. Several variations of sterilizing the patient have been discovered, some which are believed to have quicker recovery times. The patient is generally able to return to work within a day or two.

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On a different note, getting a vasectomy is one of the best forms of birth control because it is 99.85% effective. It is extremely rare for a sterilized man to get a woman pregnant once a health professional has confirmed that his sperm count is zero. The man does not have to use another method of birth control to reach this level of effectiveness; the percentage refers to the effectiveness of sterilization alone.

Chronic pain in the testicles or around that area is a possible complication of getting a vasectomy. This pain may begin immediately, months, or years after getting the surgery and plague the man for years, either constantly or on and off. As many as one in ten men who are sterilized reportedly experience a chronic pain condition related to getting a vasectomy.

Another con regarding vasectomies is that they are not a 100% effective method of birth control, nor do they protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). There is still a slim chance a sterilized man can successfully fertilize a woman’s egg. In fact, this chance is significantly greater during the first few months after a vasectomy when the man might still have sperm in his testicles. Lastly, unlike condoms, getting a vasectomy does not protect against STDs at all, so caution is still necessary when becoming sexually active with a new partner or a partner who may have additional partners.

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