You’ll be shocked at the very sound of the words as the request echoes inside your head: “I would like you to cut through my scrotum and disconnect my testicles.” What would possess you to ask such a thing of your doctor?
Why Consider a Vasectomy?
Actually, there are long-term benefits to tempt you into that butt-baring hospital gown. According to Marie Stopes International, one of the most experienced vasectomy providers in the UK, where 13 percent of British men opt for the procedure as an effective and permanent method of contraception. If you’re comfortable with your family status, having a vasectomy means no more money or time spent on contraceptives.
Above all, there are no concerns about your partner missing her pill or your condom breaking; it beats helping your last-born out to their new apartment and coming home to see a cringing wife and a thick blue line.
Time for Pillow Talk
Consider a vasectomy as a permanent method of contraception. While it can be reversed, success is not always guaranteed — so it’s important that you and your partner are sure it’s the right step.
Have an in-depth discussion on the matter. How would you both feel knowing your family cannot be added to? Do either of you anticipate any reservations or regrets? In the worst-case scenario, what if your relationship doesn’t last or a terrible accident left you without children, are you sure you wouldn’t want more? These may seem like unpleasant questions, but the decision should be fully based on the facts and considered with these in mind. Your GP and surgeon will want to know that both you and your partner are happy to go ahead.
How a Vasectomy Is Done
If considering a vasectomy brings a tear to your eye and a “no” to your lips, don’t worry; it’s not as bad as your friends have eagerly led you to believe.
Be warned: You’re awake during the procedure. They put dogs to sleep, but we have to voluntarily lie down and take it like, well, men. You may be tempted to supply a mallet to achieve cheap and cheerful general anesthesia, but a local is sufficient. Apart from a vague pulling motion, there is little involved in terms of sensation or pain.
A vasectomy targets the vas deferens (the tubes running from the testes to the penis). The surgeon makes a small incision through the scrotum and the vas deferens are simply cut, folded back and tied. The incision is stitched or stuck back together and you go on your merry way. It’s so routine, it’s the equivalent of an oil change for a mechanic; he would get the apprentice to do it.
The worst part is actually getting the local anesthetic, like a bee sting on your testicle and that “just been kicked” feeling in the stomach. It lingers and takes its time to pass, occurring twice during the procedure. That being said, you should be able to walk back to the ward and can leave after 20 minutes providing you feel fine to do so.
Once you’re home, you’re advised to rest. As much as they love you, young children sometimes forget you said not to jump on you, so you should probably keep your distance. If you have kids, it might be a good idea to have other family or friends care for them for the night so you can have some peace and quiet. You will have some swelling and some reasonably impressive bruising, but most men return to work after a day or two. Obviously, the area will feel tender for a few days and a dull ache is common for one or two weeks; if it persists, see your GP.
Back to "Business"
Don’t worry, you haven’t heard your last “not tonight, honey,” from your wife or girlfriend. Contrary to popular myth, a vasectomy has no effect on sex drive, and the procedure doesn't hinder a man's ability to achieve climax. The testicles continue producing sperm as well as sex hormones; the only difference is that the sperm is trapped so it cannot be transported through semen and is, therefore, reabsorbed into the body. You are advised to abstain from sexual activity for about a week, but you can resume your sex life as soon as you feel comfortable to do so.
Sperm may still remain in the vas deferens, so you should use contraception until you’ve submitted up to three samples of your semen to your GP. The operation is deemed successful when two of these samples come back negative for sperm. Obviously, providing these samples is an extremely important part of the procedure. When considering what to expect from a vasectomy, focus on the benefit it could have for your family and try not to dwell on the physical aspect.
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