Vasectomy is minor surgery to block sperm from reaching the semen that is ejaculated from the penis. Semen still exists, but it has no sperm in it. After a vasectomy the testes still make sperm, but they are soaked up by the body. Each year, more than 500,000 men in the U.S. choose vasectomy for birth control. A vasectomy prevents pregnancy better than any other method of birth control, except abstinence. Only 1 to 2 women out of 1,000 will get pregnant in the year after their partners have had a vasectomy.
Vasectomies are often done in your urologist's office. But they may also be done at a surgery center or in a hospital. You and your urologist may decide you need to be fully sedated (put to sleep) for the procedure. If you need to be sedated, you may have your vasectomy at a surgery center or hospital. The need for sedation is based on your anatomy, how nervous you are, or if you might need other surgery at the same time.
Most men who get vasectomies are in their late 30s and have fathered all of the children they intend to father. Men who are in their 20s who have not yet had children or have decided they do not want to have children, should give the matter serious thought. The procedure is intended as a permanent form of birth control, so the decision should not be made hastily.
All vasectomies should be considered permanent. A reverse vasectomy can be a risky and expensive proposition, with varying success rates that depend on the type of surgery your doctor does and how much time has passed since the vasectomy. Reversal surgery is also more time consuming and more complicated than a vasectomy. And there are no guarantees that it will work.