Most vasectomies are performed on men who have already fathered children and don’t want any more. Whether this is you or not, there are many other factors to consider when deciding whether a vasectomy is right for you – including personal desires, sex life and age.
Regardless, vasectomy remains an increasingly popular procedure. According to Medicare data, nearly 35,000 Australians had a vasectomy in the last financial year (2021/2022). The total number of men who have had a vasectomy is not known for sure, but it’s estimated that around 1 in 4 men over 40 years old have had “the snip”. The procedure is regarded as being very safe, as long as you’re in the hands of an experienced vasectomy doctor.
There are some common misconceptions around vasectomies, including the safety and side effects of the procedure. Our vasectomy doctors here in Melbourne have shared some information regarding regular FAQs and concerns that we see coming through our clinic – so read on!
The vasectomy basics
As a starting point, here is a simple explanation of what a vasectomy is, and what happens during the procedure:
- A vasectomy works by stopping the sperm travelling through the tubes from the testicles (where the sperm are made) to the penis.
- Using the no-scalpel technique (like we use here at Circumcision Vasectomy Australia), a sharpened instrument is used to pierce the skin of the scrotum, making an opening in the skin of about 0.5 cm.
- Once the tubes are located, they are cut, and a small piece of tissue is stitched in between the two cut ends.
Myths about vasectomies
Although conversations around vasectomy are increasing, we haven’t yet reached a point where society is openly and publicly discussing the procedure. So, it’s not a surprise that there are a few rumours and untruths being passed around. To dispel a few common misconceptions, a vasectomy will not:
- decrease your virility/sex drive.
- affect the size or shape of your scrotum or penis.
- change your hormones (including testosterone) in any way.
- stop you ejaculating; or affect the volume, consistency or appearance of your ejaculate. (Your semen will simply no longer contain sperm)
You can read more facts about vasectomies on our blog here.
A safe procedure
The vasectomy procedure is well-established as safe, with very low risk of complications. In Australia, vasectomies are only performed by qualified doctors and practitioners, with strict guidelines in place to ensure patient safety. Here at Circumcision Vasectomy Australia, we hold ourselves to the high standards of the regularly reviewed government guidelines on vasectomy administration, so you can be sure you’re receiving the best care possible.
A safe form of birth control
According to the World Health Organization, the failure rate of vasectomy is less than 1%, making it a highly effective form of birth control. In fact, after abstinence, vasectomies are considered the most effective long-term birth control method.
With typical use (which has human error considered), condoms are 85% effective, the pill is 92% and hormonal implants/IUDs are 99% effective.
There are some risks
Short-term: While vasectomies are considered extremely safe, there are some minor risks involved – as there are with all medical procedures and contraceptives. A very small percentage of men may experience infection, bleeding, or failure. These risks can be minimised by choosing a qualified and experienced practitioner.
In the short term, you must also remember that you won’t be infertile immediately after the procedure. During your appointment, we will organise a sperm test (usually 3 months after your procedure) to confirm that you are infertile. At this point, many patients will receive all clear and will not need a repeat test. You should get clearance from your doctor that your vasectomy is ‘successful’ before you start having unprotected sex.
Keep in mind: a vasectomy doesn’t protect you or your intimate partners from STIs. The best way to avoid these infections is the proper use of condoms.
Long-term: You should consider a vasectomy procedure permanent. Although there are reversal options, they are expensive and don’t always work.
So, while you think you may be sure that you don’t want any (or more) children, it’s good to remember that life is unpredictable. Circumstances and new relationships can alter the desire to father children – no matter our age. Unlike condoms, the pill and IUDs, vasectomies can’t be introduced and taken away at will.
In very rare cases, the vas deferens (the tubes that are “snipped”) will find each other again and reconnect within the body. We use the open-ended, fascial interposition technique, which reduces this chance to 0.1%.
Although there are many different things to consider when deciding whether a vasectomy is right for you, the benefits outweigh the risks in most cases. Some benefits that a vasectomy can afford you include:
- Low cost compared to purchasing other contraceptive methods
- Quick and simple procedure
- Is permanent (lasts forever)
- Allows your partner to stop taking other types of contraception to prevent pregnancy.
At Circumcision Vasectomy Australia, you’re in safe hands. We want to make you feel comfortable and relaxed during every single step. We provide vasectomies that take only 20 minutes and offer 24-hours of aftercare in the comfort of your own home. Get in touch with us if you’d like more information about the procedure, what to expect, or to book an appointment.
About The Author
Dr. Shehab Abdalla is the Director of Circumcision Vasectomy Australia. He has completed a fellowship through the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and now specialises in circumcisions and vasectomies.
Connect with Dr. Shehab Abdalla on LinkedIn