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At the time of writing this article, I have approximately 2 days and 2 hours before I’m scheduled to undergo a vasectomy.
Not like I’m counting or anything!
By the time you read this, the procedure will have already taken place (touch wood, it all went well!)
I thought it might be useful to others to share my story.
From first deciding to have the operation/surgery, (and why) to what happens days, weeks and months afterward, I share with you in this article.
- 1 What Is A Vasectomy?
- 2 Why Choose a Vasectomy?
- 3 How Effective / Reliable Is A Vasectomy?
- 4 The Procedure
- 5 How Long Does A Vasectomy take?
- 6 My Vasectomy Diary
- 7 Common Questions
- 7.1 What Are The Risks To Getting A Vasectomy?
- 7.2 Post Vasectomy – Recovery / Care
- 7.3 How soon can I have sex after the vasectomy?
- 7.4 Will It Affect My Sex Life?
- 7.5 Can You Eat And Drink Before A Vasectomy?
- 7.6 Can A Vasectomy Be Reversed?
- 7.7 The Average Cost Of A Vasectomy
- 7.8 Is A Vasectomy Covered By Insurance?
- 7.9 Do You Shoot Blanks After A Vasectomy?
- 7.10 Can A Vasectomy Cause Prostate Cancer?
- 7.11 More Juicy Reads..
What Is A Vasectomy?
For those new to this game, a male vasectomy or ‘the snip’ is a simple and small operation to cut and tie (or seal) the tubes (known as the ‘vas deferens’) to stop sperm mixing with your semen during ejaculation.
The procedure is otherwise known as male sterilization.
Why Choose a Vasectomy?
Choosing to get the snip is potentially a life-changing decision.
It’s usually taken between a couple once they’ve decided they no longer want any more children.
The benefits are obvious – it is a permanent form of male contraception.
In my case, neither myself or my wife have children, and we don’t want any in the future. We are both in our 40’s and have been together for 4 and a half years.
We’ve had a couple of near-misses recently, and having chatted about our options, decided a vasectomy was the best course.
It’s much easier to do, far less intrusive, and more effective than female sterilization.
I’m certainly not looking forward to the operation, but it should make life a lot more simple once it’s done.
How Effective / Reliable Is A Vasectomy?
The success rate of a vasectomy is very high.
Not quite 100%, as approx 1 in 2000 men will become fertile again at some point in the future.
This happens when the 2 cut ends of the vas deferens managed to connect again.
Occasionally the operation is not successful and sperm still shows up in the semen afterward.
Again this is rare and happens in less than 1 in 100 operations.
There are two types of procedures – conventional and no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy.
Both are usually done under a local anaesthetic.
Basically, this means you will be awake during the operation but shouldn’t feel any pain. (I fekin hope not!)
Occasionally the procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic, but this is not the norm.
You’ll have a small local anaesthetic injected into the skin on either side of the scrotum, above the testicles.
The doctor/surgeon makes two small cuts, about 1cm long, on each side of your scrotum.
The incisions allow your surgeon to access the tubes ‘vas deferens’ that carry sperm out of your testicles.
Each tube is cut and a small section removed.
The ends of the tubes are then closed, either by tying them or sealing them using diathermy (an instrument that heats to a very high temperature). It stops bleeding at the same time.
The incisions are stitched, usually using dis-solvable stitches, which will disappear naturally within about a week.
No-Scalpel No-Needle Vasectomy
During a no-scalpel vasectomy, the doctor will feel the vas deferens underneath the skin of your scrotum and then hold it in place using a small clamp.
Instead of a needle to deliver the anaesthetic, a spray injector is used to numb the area, as well as a special device to spread the tissue eliminating the scalpel.
A special surgical instrument is used to make a tiny puncture hole in the skin of the scrotum.
A small pair of forceps is used to open up the hole, allowing the surgeon to access the vas deferens without needing to cut the skin with a scalpel.
The vas tubes are then closed in the same way as in a conventional vasectomy, either by being tied or heat-sealed.
During a no-scalpel vasectomy, there will be little bleeding and no stitches.
The procedure is also thought to be less painful and less likely to cause complications than a conventional vasectomy.
I’ve no idea what type of operation I’m getting on the day, as it didn’t mention this in the information I received from the clinic.
How Long Does A Vasectomy take?
The procedure only takes around 15 – 20 minutes. Which I’m pleased about!
My Vasectomy Diary
2 Days Before The operation
I’ve made my decision and I’m sticking with it.
Happy to be getting it done.
I had to wait approx 2 months for the procedure from initially speaking to my doctor.
I was sent some basic information on what to expect and what I need to do. All seems pretty straightforward.
1 Day Before The Operation
Along with the information I was sent regarding what to expect, times, dates, etc. I also received information for shaving instructions!
You need to shave pretty much everything down there.
So this morning I spent a good 30 minutes in the shower with my Mach 3 razor ensuring everything was smooth and hair-free.
I normally keep my crown jewels nice and trim, so it wasn’t anything I don’t normally do..except maybe a little more attention to detail!
So my day of destiny came and went.
I am writing this the day after the operation.
My wife drove me to the clinic, which is about 30 mins from where we live.
A vasectomy can be performed in a clinic, doctor’s surgery, or a hospital.
I arrived early but was called in within 10 minutes.
Both myself and the wife were invited to have a chat with the surgeon who was to perform the op.
My doctor (Dr Khan) basically went over how the procedure was going to work, the implications of a vasectomy, what could go wrong etc. etc. All the stuff I was aware of.
I was pleased to hear that it would be a no-scalpel operation. Although the anaesthetic would be injected using a needle.
I was also pleased to hear that my doctor had performed over 1700 vasectomy operations, and none of them had resulted in any long-term complications.
He was surprised that neither me or my wife had any children.
We were only the 4th couple out of 1700+ he’d seen for a vasectomy that never had, or wanted kids. (I think he was actually pleased for some reason!)
Interestingly he hasn’t any children either. (Yes we had a nice wee chat!)
After agreeing that I still wanted to go ahead, I signed a consent form and was lead into the operating room by the surgeon where a nurse was also waiting.
My wife returned to the waiting room.
Down to Business..
I was asked to strip from the waist down and lay on an operating table.
All the appropriate areas were then sterilized!
My dignity was spared a little, as except my balls, my little fella (who had now embarrassingly retreated into his shell!) was covered over.
The doctor then physically felt to locate the vas deferens tube on my left side and clamped it into place.
It was all a bit rough to be honest, but I wasn’t about to ask him to be a little gentler!
He then gave me my first local anaesthetic injection into the skin on my left ball.
This was actually a little more painful than I was expecting, and I did flinch.
After a few seconds, while the anaesthetic kicked in, he started the procedure.
At this point, I decided to shut my eyes and tried to relax as much as possible.
I also said to myself..”what the feck am I doing here?!”
Anyway, it only took about 5 mins to do the left side.
I could smell my burnt flesh as he used the electrical cauterizer to heat-seal the vas deferens.
There was no pain of any sort. Just a slight discomfort of your nuts being clamped and manhandled!
Doctor Khan informed me that he was now going to inject the right side with a local anaesthetic.
Again this was a little painful for a couple of seconds, but no more.
The same scenario for the right side, and once again I decided to keep my eyes shut.
The nurse did ask me if I was okay and informed me that everything was going well and it would soon be over.
And it was!
Another 5 minutes later and it was job done.
I asked if it had gone alright and the doc said it was all fine.
There was a little blood to mop-up as I only had surgical tape rather than stitches for the incision.
I was given some medical padding to put against my ‘war wound’ in case the blood seeped through anymore.
There was a tiny amount, but nothing to worry about.
After a quick de-brief, I left the operating room with instructions on what happens next.
First of all I was to wait 30 minutes in the waiting room ‘just in case’. Then I was free to go home.
Sperm can remain active in the vas deferens for up to 4 months after a vasectomy, so I need to provide 2 semen (ejaculation fluid) samples after 4 months and 5 months.
I was given 2 plastic tubes to collect my samples, and a return bag to send them away for analysis.
It’s only after 2 consecutive samples are free from sperm that I will get the ‘all-clear’ and be satisfied that I can have sex without the need for contraception.
With my sample bags in hand and more information literature, I made my way back to the waiting room and my wife.
There was no walking like ‘John Wayne’ after a long horse ride or limping, or anything I imagined.
The anaesthetic was still doing its job, so I couldn’t feel any discomfort at this stage.
I was very relieved that the operation went as planned. Not like I didn’t expect it to, but still relieved.
I said to my wife that I felt like I’d “just been vandalized“!
It was all pretty light-hearted while we sat in the waiting room for half an hour.
After 30 minutes had passed, we simply walked out, and my wife drove me home.
I spent the rest of the day lying on the sofa.
Luckily my wife took the day off, and she was more than happy to be my nurse for the day.
Once the anaesthetic wore off, my balls became a little tender and sore, so I took a couple of painkillers.
These were the only 2 pain killers I took, as the pain never really got any worse.
And that my friends, was pretty much how the day of my vasectomy went!
All-in-all, a lot easier and less painful than I imagined.
2 Days After My Vasectomy
So it’s been 2 days since the big V.
I’m pleased to report that there’s really nothing much to report!
I’ve got some bruising around the incision, and some on the shaft of my ‘old fella’. I did expect a lot more bruising and swelling.
Images of lying with frozen peas attached to my undercarriage spring to mind!
I think for the conventional vasectomy, perhaps you do get more bruising and swelling.
However, I don’t think that procedure is performed much anymore, and the non-scalpel procedure is the ‘norm’.
I’ve been walking around, and up and down the stairs without any discomfort.
I can feel a slight dull ache when walking, but nothing too much.
I will post another update after a week or so, and then again once I get my 5-month ‘all-clear’.
If you have any questions you’d like to ask or would like to share your own experience, it would be great to hear from you. Just fill in the comments box at the end.
1 Week Update
So it’s been exactly 7 days since my vasectomy.
After about the 4 day point, the bruising really kicked in. It wasn’t a pretty sight down there!
My testicles were also a lot more tender.
I could still walk about okay and didn’t need any pain killers, but I felt much more delicate than I did the first few days.
The bruising is still quite significant, but the slight, dull ache is starting to subside.
I can actually start to think about having sex again! 🙂
My recovery period seems to be going as expected, which I am very happy about.
6 Week Update
It has now been exactly 6 weeks since my vasectomy.
Happily, I can report “all systems normal Captain!”.
I still have to wait another 2 months before I send in my first semen sample for analysis, but ‘health wise’ I feel absolutely fine.
It probably took around 10 days before the bruising and slight pain had gone.
I went for a gentle jog without any discomfort.
The frustrating part now is having to wait another 3 months before I get the official ‘all clear’.
Five months from start to finish seems an awfully long time.
I could choose to buy a Post Vasectomy Home Sperm Test Kit.
These kits are recommended by Urologists and FDA approved, and CE Mark European approved. They also come with guaranteed accuracy.
Let’s face it, nothing much in life is guaranteed, but the user feedback looks pretty good.
I might actually buy one of these kits in about 10 months time, simply because if a vasectomy fails (i.e. the tubes manage to reconnect) it is likely to happen within the first year.
It would be reassuring to know in 12 months time that the op was a 100% success.
However, if you’re of the curious/impatient kind, a home test kit might give you some early reassurance.
Update: I have been kindly sent a Post Vasectomy Home Sperm Test Kit by the good people at SpermCheck who sell it.
(Here’s my review and views after using the Post Vasectomy Home Sperm Test Kit)
What Are The Risks To Getting A Vasectomy?
Like any medical procedure, there will always be some risk involved, no matter how small.
Most men do not experience any problems after a vasectomy.
However, like me, I’m sure you’ve read or heard the odd horror story from a guy whose friend got it done and he was in agony afterward!
Let’s put it into perspective, the chances of something going wrong are incredibly small, and even if they do, there’s every chance the problem can be successfully treated.
Vasectomy Problems / Complications – Here’s what could happen:
- Problems associated with a general anaesthetic (if you have one).
- The wound becomes infected.
- The bruising could be quite substantial. However, this will eventually go.
- Rarely, sperm may leak into the scrotum and form a swelling that may need treatment.
- A small number of men have a dull ache in the scrotum for a few weeks or months after the operation. This usually settles within 3 months.
- A small number of men develop pain that does not settle over time. This is known as post-vasectomy pain syndrome. This pain can be mild or severe. It may be in the scrotum, the penis, the testicles, or the lower tummy.
The last issue was my biggest concern. But again, statistically, there’s very little chance of it happening, and I was still happy to go through with it!
Post Vasectomy – Recovery / Care
Rest is the order of the day.
The top part of the scrotum is usually mildly sore for a few days after the operation.
I booked a week off work just in case!
How soon can I have sex after the vasectomy?
You can have sex as soon as it’s comfortable to do so.
You’ll need to use contraception for at least eight weeks after the operation because sperm can remain in the tubes leading to the penis.
I was advised that I should continue to use some form of contraception until after my second semen test which is the 5 months point.
Will It Affect My Sex Life?
A vasectomy has no effect on sex drive or ability to enjoy sex. You will still have erections and ejaculate normally.
The only difference is that your semen will not contain sperm. – All juice, no seed!
Can You Eat And Drink Before A Vasectomy?
Yes, it is advisable to eat as you would normally before your vasectomy. Otherwise, you may become lightheaded and feel faint.
I wouldn’t drink too much beforehand. I can’t imagine it being a pleasant experience if you need to have a pee during the operation!
Go to the loo just before the op.
It goes without saying, but don’t drink alcohol before your op. I wouldn’t even drink the night before just to be on the safe side.
Can A Vasectomy Be Reversed?
Yes, a vasectomy can be reversed, although it is a complicated and more expensive procedure that is not always successful.
The medical term for a vasectomy reversal is Vasovasostomy (literally connection of the vas to the vas). see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasovasostomy
Think long and hard before committing!
According to NHS UK “If a reversal is carried out within 10 years of your vasectomy, the success rate is about 55%. This falls to 25% if your reversal is carried out more than 10 years after your vasectomy.”
Even if a surgeon manages to join up the vas deferens tubes again, pregnancy may still not be possible. This is why you should be certain before going ahead with the vasectomy.
However there are plenty of stories and testimonials celebrating the success of vasectomy reversals: http://www.vasectomyreversal-clinic.co.uk/testimonials/
The Average Cost Of A Vasectomy
I live in the UK and so it’s free to get a vasectomy on the National Health Service.
The average cost of a vasectomy (If I went privately) is anywhere from £700 to £2000.
In the US the price is fairly similar.
It would certainly pay to ‘shop around’.
Is A Vasectomy Covered By Insurance?
Yes, most insurance companies (wherever you live in the world) will cover the cost of a vasectomy.
However, the same cannot be said if you want a reverse vasectomy.
Do You Shoot Blanks After A Vasectomy?
Don’t worry, less than 3 percent of the volume of ejaculate is made up of sperm, so you will not notice any difference or noticeable change in what you ejaculate.
There’s no noticeable change in what it looks like, what it smells like or what it tastes like. (Can’t verify the last one I’m afraid!)
Can A Vasectomy Cause Prostate Cancer?
There was a concern that a vasectomy may cause a higher risk of prostate cancer.
However, studies have shown and further analysis indicated that there is, in fact, no difference in risk of cancer in men that have, or have not had a vasectomy.
Most authorities, including the National Cancer Institute and the American Urological Association, agree that vasectomy does not increase the risk of prostate cancer.