Health and Wellbeing

Testing for success: the importance of semen analysis when getting a vasectomy

By The Fellow Team February 24, 2023

Did you know that March is the busiest month of the year for vasectomies in the US? Probably not, because you're focused on going about your day-to-day and catching all the March Madness action! In fact, about half a million men in the United States get a vasectomy each year, and March is the busiest month[1] because it turns out that vasectomy recovery and basketball screentime go hand-in-hand.

So if you’re getting a vasectomy this year, make sure you score a three-pointer: Freeze, Snip and Test.

1. Before your vasectomy: store your sperm.

Consider freezing your sperm (cryopreservation) so that your options remain open in the future, just in case your circumstances change. Cryopreservation is a procedure to preserve sperm cells and is a great pre-vasectomy plan to help eliminate the need for a vasectomy reversal should you later wish to conceive. At the end of day, it can be reassuring having a sample on ice if you are hesitant or unsure what the future may hold. Learn more about Fellow’s Cryopreservation solution.

2. Vasectomy: have your procedure.

A vasectomy is a safe, quick, easy and effective means of permanent contraception. During a vasectomy, a doctor will cut and cauterize the vas deferens, which is the duct - or channel - that allows sperm to travel from the testicles to the urethra. There are several ways to perform a vasectomy, and your provider will work with you to determine what is right for you. Typically, vasectomies take no longer than 20-30 minutes.

3. After your vasectomy: test for success.

After a successful vasectomy, you’ll need to rest for 2-3 days (aka watch basketball) and can resume normal physical activity shortly after. And don’t worry, you’ll still ejaculate, but your semen won’t contain any sperm. And because sperm only make up about 5% of the volume of your semen, you shouldn’t typically notice any difference in the amount of ejaculate pre and post vasectomy. Likewise, your sexual sensation, from arousal to orgasm, should be unaffected, but if you experience any pain be sure to talk with your doctor.

Given all this, you’ve probably guessed it: a vasectomy is a highly effective form of birth control and it is considered the most effective birth control after abstinence[2]. However, it can take up to 3 months for your semen to be completely sperm-free so if you’re getting a vasectomy for birth-control related reasons, be sure to use an alternate form of birth control until your doctor confirms that your semen is free and clear of sperm.

So, how do you know that your semen is free and clear of sperm? Well, that’s where testing for success comes in. Here at Fellow, we have a vasectomy kit that tests if there is any sperm present in your semen. You can simply buy the Fellow kit from your vasectomy clinic, produce a sample - at home or wherever is convenient for you - drop it off at UPS (or schedule a pick up) and Fellow will take it from there. Once we receive your kit back at our lab, both you and your doctor will receive the result within 2 days. And if we still see sperm in your sample, you’ll need to wait about a month to re-test, and we’ll send you another kit for free.

So for this March, will you join many other men as they find a perfect excuse to watch basketball all day?

This article is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Do not rely on this for medical advice. As always, consult your doctor with any questions.


[1] Ostrowski (Walsh) et al., 2018, Evaluation of Vasectomy Trends in the United States

[2] 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Vasectomies, Penn Medicine

The Fellow Team

It would be nigh impossible to find a bunch more passionate about fertility than the Fellow Team. We are a group of colleagues who loves to author articles in our free time (that is, when we aren't challenging each other to games of Code Names). You can reach us at blog@meetfellow.com.

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