What's It Like: To get a vasectomy

During a vasectomy, a doctor will cut the tubes that carry sperm from the scrotum to the testicles.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: September 16, 2012

Why get a vasectomy?

In surveying families, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that the majority of men get a vasectomy because either they or their partner decided they had all the children they wanted.

There are other reasons to get a vasectomy. Some single men get a vasectomy because they don't think they'll ever be interested in having children. Some urologists won't generally perform vasectomies on men younger than 30, but others aren't as strict.

Before getting a vasectomy, you should check with your medical insurance, if you are insured, about whether your insurance covers the procedure and what it will cover. Coverage varies quite a bit in regards to this procedure.

One of the things your doctor will want to make sure you understand is that a vasectomy is generally believed to be permanent.

What happens when you get a vasectomy?

During a vasectomy, a doctor will cut the tubes that carry sperm from the scrotum to the testicles. This tube is known as the vas deferens. This means, during sexual activity, a man can still produce semen, but it will not have sperm inside of it.

Some doctors perform a “No scalpel” vasectomy. During this procedure, a doctor will make a tiny hole and push blood vessels and nerves over, rather than cutting them. You won't need stitches.

The procedure itself takes about 10 minutes. Most of the time, the patient is awake. The procedure can be performed in a doctor's office. Sometimes a man might get a vasectomy in a hospital when getting a separate procedure, simply out of convenience.

Some doctors might give you a shot to calm your nerves. Often, that's not necessary.

There are different ways to perform a vasectomy. Some doctors will cut a section of the vas deferens out. Others will burn the ends. Some will tie the ends, and some doctors will use metal clips.

Does it hurt?

Pain is the biggest question a patient usually has about this procedure. The pain felt during the procedure is similar to a bee sting. After the procedure, you will probably be sore for up to a week.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, medicine and fitness, among other things. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a news-editorial and broadcast production degree. Outside of work, she enjoys riding her bike, taking pictures of...
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