During reproduction, the male testes produce sperm which goes down the vas deferens to the penis from where the sperm along with seminal fluids secreted by the prostrate and seminal vesicles are ejaculated into the vagina. A vasectomy is a permanent method of contraception where the sperm is blocked in the vas deferens and is then re-absorbed into the body just as it would in a person without a vasectomy when the sperm is not ejaculated. There are different methods of blocking the vas deferens, but in all methods the initial procedures of the surgery are the same.
A vasectomy is a one day out patient procedure that takes about half an hour to perform. It can be done by a urologist, family practitioner or a general surgeon. The patient might be given a mild sedative to calm him down and reduce anxiety, followed by a local anesthetic usually injected intravenously into the testicles once the area has been carefully shaved. The vas deferens is then located externally by feel and a cut is made on the scrotum. Once the vas deferens is accessible a cut is made in each of them and both ends are tied, sealed or stitched. A heat treatment method called Electrocautery is usually used to seal the two ends. This completely blocks the flow of sperm onto the penis. Variations in the procedure are primarily the type of sealing method used. In some procedures a clamp is used instead of making a cut and this has proved equally efficient while reducing the size of the hole made in the scrotum. Another method used is the no-scalpel method, in which a sharp hemostat is used to make a small puncture in the scrotum. Another method allows the sperm to flow into the scrotum thus preventing the pain usually caused by backing up of spermatozoa. Post Vasectomy Pain Syndrome (PVPS) has been reported in 5% to 35% recipients. The variation depends on the complexity of the procedure and degree of pain. Other immediate side effects include bruising, bleeding, pain during intercourse and possible psychological disturbance sparked by the loss of ability to reproduce.
Vasectomy has a success rate of over 99% with only 1 in 1000 recipients encountering pregnancy. One must be aware however that there is a risk of conception immediately after the surgery as there possibly could still be some sperm in the testes or the tubes. It usually takes eight to ten ejaculations for the sperm to completely clear out until which an alternative method of contraception is advised until a sperm test indicates confirmation.
This procedure is safe, highly effective, and relatively inexpensive but is considered somewhat permanent. It is not suggested for someone that is unsure of their position on conceiving later on in life. Although most reverse procedures have been satisfactory, freeze storage of sperm prior to vasectomy is suggested. Also if need be, and the reversibility is not possible, a doctor can extract sperm directly from the testes and opt for in vitro fertilization.