Vasectomy

1 What is a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a procedure after which a man is sterile, unable to have a child. It ensures that no sperm will exit from man’s penis when he ejaculates during sexual intercourse.

A vasectomy is a very effective procedure and it is estimated that only about 15 out of 10,000 couples get pregnant during the first year after the procedure. The doctors recommend it only to men who are prepared to accept the fact that they will no longer be able to father a child. The reversing is difficult, expensive and often unsuccessful.

It is possible to store semen in a sperm bank to preserve the possibility of producing a pregnancy at some future date but this is costly, and the sperm in stored semen is not always able to cause pregnancy.

A vasectomy does not offer protection against HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) so a man who had vasectomy must continue using condoms, preferably latex, which offer considerable protection against the spread of disease, in any sexual encounter that carries the risk of contracting or transmitting infection.

The procedure is performed by a urologist or a general surgeon under local anesthesia. It can be done using the surgical and nonsurgical method.

During surgery, the tubes that carry sperm for the testicles into the urethra from each testicle (called the vas deferens or spermatic ducts) are severed and open ends are closed off through two small opening in the scrotum.

After the procedure, the man can feel swelling, tenderness or bruise around the incision site. He must rest for at least one day but he can expect a full recovery in less than a week.

A vasectomy does not affect the production or release of testosterone, the male hormone responsible for a man's sex drive, beard, deep voice, and other masculine traits and it does not interfere with the ability of a man to have an erection, but after the procedure a second form of birth control should be used until his ejaculate fluid is found to be free from sperm, usually after 10 to 20 ejaculations.

During nonsurgical or no-scalpel vasectomy devised by a Chinese surgeon, the doctor feels for the vas under the skin of the scrotum and holds it in place with a small clamp and with a special instrument makes a tiny puncture in the skin and stretch the opening so the vas can be cut and tied. This method is less painless and produces fewer complications than conventional vasectomy.

After a vasectomy, the testes continue to make sperm and when the sperm cells die, they are absorbed by the body, much like unused sperm in a nonvasectomized man. Many vasectomized men develop immune reactions to sperm by producing anti-sperm antibodies but with no side effects.

Some studies showed that immune reactions can contribute to the development of rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis and atherosclerosis but researchers conducting the HSAM study found no evidence that vasectomized men were more likely than others to develop heart disease or any other immune illnesses.

The same study did not show an increase in cancer among vasectomized men, but three separate hospital-based studies published in 1990 reported positive correlations between vasectomy and prostate cancer and well-regarded 1991 study found no such relationship.

The World Health Organization (WHO) sponsored in 1991 a meeting of experts from around the world to evaluate the available evidence regarding a link between vasectomy and prostate cancer, and the assembled experts concluded that a causal relationship between vasectomy and cancer of either the prostate or testis is unlikely.

Many studies are currently conducting in the United States and scientists expect these investigations to help resolve the issue.

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