What is a vasectomy?
A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that provides permanent male contraception by disrupting the path of sperm from the testicles to the urethra, where it is typically ejaculated during orgasm. The primary purpose of a vasectomy is to prevent the release of sperm during ejaculation, thus rendering a man sterile. It is a procedure with growing acceptance in Singapore with an increased uptake annually.
While a vasectomy is highly effective at preventing pregnancy three months post-procedure or 15-20 ejaculations, its effectiveness as birth control is not immediate. You should carefully weigh the decision and consider long-term family planning goals before proceeding.
How does a vasectomy work?
A local anaesthetic is administered to numb the scrotum to ensure your comfort during the procedure. This local anaesthesia prevents you from feeling pain or significant discomfort during the surgery. After numbing the scrotum, a small incision is made to access the vas deferens. The tubes are cut, tied off, or sealed, ensuring sperm cannot mix with semen during ejaculation. This critical step interrupts the flow of sperm from the testicles to the urethra.
Sperm production in the testicles continues, but the sperm can no longer mix with the semen during ejaculation. Following the procedure, sperm is absent from your ejaculation. During sexual intercourse, sperm can no longer fertilise an egg, rendering you effectively sterile. It will take approximately 2-3 months after the procedure for a vasectomy to be fully effective. Prior studies have indicated a possibility of 1 pregnancy in 1,000 vasectomies, making it 99.99% effective.
Benefits of a vasectomy
- Permanent contraception
- Highly effective
- No hormonal changes
- Quick procedure
What conditions can a vasectomy treat?
Below are some reasons one may consider a vasectomy:
- Preventing unplanned pregnancies
- Easing concerns about contraception for couples who have completed their desired family size
- Avoiding passing hereditary diseases, genetic disorders, or disabilities
- Removing contraceptive burden from partner
What results can I expect from a vasectomy?
After undergoing a vasectomy, you can expect the following outcomes and changes:
- Permanent contraception: the primary result of a vasectomy is permanent contraception. You will no longer be able to father children naturally, as your ejaculation will be devoid of sperm.
- Some discomfort: after the procedure, you may experience some discomfort, swelling, or bruising in the scrotal area, but these effects are generally manageable and temporary.
- Effectiveness: a vasectomy is highly effective at preventing pregnancy, with a failure rate of less than 1%. However, it is crucial to continue using contraception until a follow-up test confirms the absence of sperm, usually a few months after the procedure.
- No hormonal changes: unlike other forms of contraception, a vasectomy does not affect your hormonal balance. You will not experience mood swings or other hormonal side effects.
- Quick recovery: recovery from the procedure is relatively short, and most men can resume their normal activities within a few days.
- No interruption during intercourse: you can enjoy a spontaneous and fulfilling sex life with your partner.
It is essential to follow your urologist’s post-operative instructions for proper care and to avoid strenuous activities for a brief recovery period.
How many vasectomy sessions are needed?
A vasectomy rarely requires more than one session as it is a procedure completed in a single session. The procedure itself is relatively quick, usually taking less than 30 minutes. It is important to note that while the procedure is a single session, you should continue using alternative contraception.
You will be required to undergo a sperm analysis as a follow-up test with your urologist to confirm the absence of sperm in your semen. This test typically occurs a few months after the vasectomy to ensure effectiveness. Until then, you should assume you are still fertile to prevent unintended pregnancies.
Frequently asked questions
UroLift® is generally well-tolerated; most individuals report minimal discomfort during the procedure. Any discomfort experienced is typically mild and temporary, and your urologist will take measures to ensure your comfort throughout the treatment.
While UroLift® is suitable for many cases of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), its effectiveness can depend on individual factors, including the size and severity of your condition. Your urologist will evaluate your specific case to determine the most appropriate treatment.
The side effects of UroLift® are generally mild and short-lived. Common side effects may include temporary urinary symptoms such as urgency and discomfort. Serious complications are rare, and your urologist will discuss any potential risks with you before the procedure.