Health and Wellbeing

What to expect before and after your vasectomy

By The Fellow Team February 15, 2022

Here’s some fun trivia for you: March is the busiest month of the year for vasectomies with a very large percentage of all yearly procedures taking place - and yes you guessed it - it’s because of March Madness. Nothing says “chill on the couch and recover post-vas” like a good tournament bracket. Some physicians have even reported reaching “max capacity” in the weeks leading up to the tournament.5

The procedure only takes a short amount of time but does require some post-op rest and a few days to heal. Whether you are planning on getting a vasectomy or have one on the books for this March, there are some things to consider both pre and post-vasectomy.

Now, let’s get up to speed on the major “3 pointers” of your pre and post-vasectomy game plan.

1. Pre-vasectomy: store your sperm.

In most cases, vasectomies are reversible, but that is a lot of hassle and downtime if somewhere down the line your fertility and circumstances change. Cryopreservation (commonly called sperm banking or sperm freezing) is a procedure to preserve sperm cells, which is a great pre-vasectomy plan to help eliminate the need for a vasectomy reversal. Essentially, cryopreservation is a very effective and logical means of preserving fertility for men undergoing vasectomy or treatments that may compromise their fertility, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery. 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.

2. Vasectomy: have your procedure.

Getting a vasectomy is a common, quick (10-30 minutes), and typically painless surgery. During a vasectomy, a doctor will cut and cauterize the vas deferens. There are two types of vasectomies your doctor might consider. An incision vasectomy involves your doctor (typically a urologist) making 1-2 small incisions in your scrotum through which they expose the vas deferens. You may be under general anesthesia or local anesthesia, depending on your specific case.3 Your doctor will then cut and cauterize the vas deferens, or block it off with ties or surgical clips. You’ll get some stitches in your scrotum and then you’ll be done – often in and out of surgery within 20 minutes.4

The other type of vasectomy your doctor may consider is a no-scalpel vasectomy. Like the name implies, this type of vasectomy involves just a tiny hole punctured through the skin of the scrotum, through which the vas deferens is ligated (tied off). You won’t get stitches for the no-scalpel vasectomy method.

The type of vasectomy that you decide on depends on your personal preferences, your doctor’s experience, and what your doctor thinks is right for you. You’ll discuss all of this in the appointments you have with your doctor before the actual procedure.

3. Post vasectomy: test for success.

After a successful vasectomy you’ll still ejaculate, but your semen won’t contain any sperm. Needless to say, vasectomies are a highly effective form of birth control! Important caveat: it can take up to 3 months for your semen to be completely sperm-free. 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.7

Had a vasectomy and are testing out the success? Check out our vasectomy kit.

Because sperm make up only approximately 5% of the volume of your semen, you typically will not notice any difference in the amount of ejaculate pre and post vasectomy. Your sexual sensation, from arousal to orgasm, should be unaffected, but if you experience any pain make sure to talk with your doctor.

Another thing that won’t be impacted? Your testosterone levels.8

Still have questions or concerns? Keep reading.

How painful is a vasectomy?

Generally you should experience very little pain! Vasectomies are typically done at a urologist’s office or clinic, meaning you won’t have to go to a hospital (this is called an outpatient procedure). While some bruising, swelling, and minor pain may be expected post-surgery, most men need just a few days of rest before feeling back to 100%.6

Can I reverse a vasectomy?

You can generally reverse a vasectomy, and approximately 5% of men who’ve gotten a vasectomy do so.9 During a vasectomy reversal, a doctor will cut into the scrotum to reattach the severed ends of the vas deferens back together. If sperm become present in your semen, the process will end there. If sperm is not present, your doctor may connect your vas deferens directly to the epididymis, the tube behind your testicles where sperm hang out. This is called avasoepididymostomyand is a more complicated procedure than a vasectomy reversal (called avasovasostomy).

A successful vasectomy reversal (when sperm reappear in ejaculate and a successful pregnancy may be possible) happens with approximately 30-90% of surgeries.10 The biggest indicator of whether a vasectomy reversal will be successful is the amount of time between vasectomy and vasectomy reversal. The longer the time, the more likely the vas deferens will have become more blocked.11 As an extra precaution, some men choose to bank their sperm prior to their vasectomy, just in case they later change their mind about wanting (more) children and are unable to reverse the vasectomy.

Had a vasectomy reversal and want to check the success? You can easily test your vasectomy reversal from home with the Fellow Semen Analysis. Learn more.

How much does a vasectomy cost?

Most health insurance plans (including Medicaid) cover vasectomies. The cost of the procedure will depend on whether you have insurance, your specific plan, and your doctor. As for vasectomy reversals, many plans do not cover this cost. The price of the procedure can range, generally speaking, from $7,000 to $9,000 – so be sure to consider this cost when evaluating your options.12

If you’re sure you don’t want (more) biological children, a vasectomy can be a great option to consider. If you’re not positive? Maybe hold off – reversals can be costly and may not guarantee a successful pregnancy.

And that’s that! Now that you’re up to speed on vasectomies, check out our article on other forms of male birth control.

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.

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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