By the age of 40, about 25 percent of Australian men have had a vasectomy. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the memo as I’m turning 50 next month and have a baby due in November. For my birthday, my wife thought it would be a great idea to organise the snip for me. Am I the luckiest guy in the world or what?
I recently visited my urologist and he gently talked me through what he was going to do to my dream team. Dizzied, I thought to myself, “Why do I have to get the snip? Why can’t my wife just stay on the pill indefinitely? And why does my surgeon have to have such large, tough, masuline hands?”
Turns out, a vasectomy is the least invasive, permanent and effective form of birth control. For those who make a habit of covering their ears and singing “Lalalalalalalalala!” every time the word is mentioned, a vasectomy (male sterilization) is a surgical procedure to cut or seal the Vas deferens. It may sound like a hip Indie band from Germany that played backup for Kraftwerk in Staad, but sadly it’s not that cool. Rather, it’s a small tube located in the scrotum which transports sperm away from the testicle. If my urologist does what I’m paying him to do, it should divide the tubing so that sperm never leaves the testicles.
By now, most of you are probably crossing your legs as your walnut-shaped friends retreat into your gut at the mere thought of sharp, metallic instruments penetrating your protective scrotum flesh to sever your man hoses. While it’s easy to obsess over the negatives of vasectomy surgery, there are positives too. So, here are some facts that should put your mind, and your balls, at ease.
A vasectomy is a simple surgery
The scrotum is opened and the Vas deferens are cut and stitched shut. Make sure not to tell your wife how easy this procedure is. Rather, exaggerate how brutal an ordeal it will be and how brave you are for unselfishly undertaking it. You should be able to score months of sympathy and loving and back rubs out of it.
Vasectomies are effective
Men have a less than 1 percent chance of getting a partner pregnant after they’ve been surgically sterilized. I like those odds! That’s more effective than rubbers or birth control pills.
Local or general anaesthetic
Some urologists choose to do the procedure with the patient awake using a local anaesthetic injected into the scrotum. Other surgeons (like mine) prefer to sedate their patients so they don’t move around too much. Remind me to hug him after the swelling goes down. Typically, it takes around 5 minutes to have the procedure done. Which means they make about $200 a minute, if my maths is correct.
Most men will experience some minor discomfort and will need to “chill” for a few days, applying ice packs to the scrotum and using ibuprofen every 6 hours. A little swelling and bruising at the incision area is to be expected. You can return to work within a couple days and be back in the saddle within 1 week. Not the horse saddle, however. Give that another week.
You’re not immediately sterile
Unfortunately, it can take a few months to clean out your proverbial pipes. So, you need to use other forms of birth control until your semen analysis proves there are no longer any sperm swimming about. Even then, there is still a 1 in 10,000 chance where your partner can still fall pregnant. “It happened to a good friend of mine!” said the receptionist after I had just paid the bill for my consultation. I’m still not smiling.
You still make sperm
Vasectomies don’t halt sperm production, they just stop your swimmers from escaping. The sperm are eventually reabsorbed into the body. Close your eyes and try to visualise that phenomenon. On second thought, don’t.
Vasectomies should be considered permanent sterilization, not temporary birth control. Reversing a vasectomy is costly and may not be successful. If you want a vasectomy but may still want kids, consider freezing sperm before the surgery. Promise, they won’t feel a thing.
It won’t cause sexual difficulties
A vasectomy won’t decrease desire, cause difficulty maintaining an erection or problems with orgasm. So, go hard and go strong!
Consider the alternative… kids
It costs a helluva lot less than having kids. From one of my earlier articles, we learned how many hundreds of thousands of dollars you need to spend on them until they leave the nest. Vasectomies are considerably more affordable at around $1,000, with Medicare covering some of that expense. So, take my advice and run to your doctor, today!