BIRTH CONTROL FOR MEN
About 50 million men have had a vasectomy — that’s roughly 5% of all married couples of reproductive age. Approximately half a million vasectomies are performed in the United States each year. About one out of six men over age 35 has had this simple procedure.
Vasectomy involves blocking the tubes (the vas deferens) through which sperm pass into the semen. All vasectomy techniques involve cutting or otherwise blocking both the left and right vas deferens so the man’s ejaculate will no longer contain sperm.
Understanding a vasectomy
Vasectomy is intended to result in permanent sterilization of the male. A man who has had a successful vasectomy will never father any future children. This fact must be clearly understood by the patient who agrees to have a vasectomy.
About the procedure
Vasectomy is typically performed in the urologist’s office under local anesthesia. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and the patient is able to walk out of the office and drive home immediately afterward. The discomfort experienced during and after the procedure varies from person to person but is usually minor.
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In a no-scalpel vasectomy, the doctor feels for the vas deferens under the skin of the anesthetized scrotum and holds it in place with a small clamp. A tiny puncture is made in the skin and the opening is stretched so the vas can be cut and tied. This method produces very little bleeding. The small puncture holes typically heal quickly and no stitches need to be removed.
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