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Though vasectomy is considered to be a permanent form of birth control for men, approximately 1 in 2000 men conceive children, following vasectomy. There are two primary reasons for this:
Though it is uncommon, the vas deferens may reconnect themselves, following a vasectomy. This is called "recanalization" and is more common with procedures where a significant length of the tube was not removed. For best results, surgeons should remove a length of the vas, or cauterize the ends, to prevent recanalization and subsequent birth control failure.
Many people are familiar with the term "vasectomy," however most do not realize that there is more than one to complete this procedure. There are actually two (2) different vasectomy procedures which will achieve the same results:
For a scalpel-free vasectomy, there is still an opening made in the scrotal sac, however it is accomplished using a specialized device that makes a small puncture in the skin, rather than slicing the skin with a scalpel. The vas deferens are located through the wall of the scrotal sac, to determine where to make the opening in the sac wall. The benefits of this method include: 1) generally less manipulation of the tissues, which can result in less swelling and discomfort, 2) the skin puncture does not usually require sutures to close, since it is so small, and 3) there is less anxiety since the sac is not being "cut."
No matter which type of vasectomy you opt to use, both are safe and effective methods for accomplishing the goal of permanent contraception.
When considering birth control methods, cost is also a factor. Some methods of birth control are more costly than others. These include: tubal ligation or hysterectomy for women and long-term prescription birth control pills.
Generally speaking, the cost of a vasectomy is usually between $500 and $1,000, depending on where you are and what type of procedure is completed. Your health insurance may actually cover part or all of this procedure.
Conversely, a vasectomy reversal is more expensive, since it requires more time and skill. The average cost of vasectomy reversal is between $5,000 and $13,000, depending on your location and procedure. Though this is a significant sum of money, and it is considered an elective procedure (which means your insurance policy may not cover this procedure) - it is less costly than in-vitro or in utero fertilization, which would be required if a reversal is not performed, and children are desired.
Talk to your physician about vasectomy and vasectomy reversal to find out the costs in your area.
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and complications. Vasectomy has its own unique risks and complications, most of which are minor and will not require any additional intervention. These can include:
Talk to your doctor about a vasectomy to get more information about the risks and complications of the procedure.
For men, the decision to get a vasectomy is not an easy one, and usually involves their spouse or partner. There are different reasons for a man to opt for vasectomy, including:
For men who are part of a couple, many realize that the risks for their partner are much higher than for men, when comparing the risks associated with long term use of birth control pills or having female surgery versus having a vasectomy. They opt to take the lead in permanent birth control.
A few men have concerns about transmission of hereditary disease, which makes them not want to produce children. Some diseases which are readily transmitted include, sickle cell disease and Huntington's Chorea, both of which are serious and life-threatening.
As with any surgical treatment, one must be sure that vasectomy is the right choice, before going through with the procedure. Vasectomies, though some can be reversed, are generally considered to be permanent. Always consult with your physician for details on this procedure.
As with any surgical procedure there are both risks and benefits. In a vasectomy reversal, the desired benefit is renewed fertility, and this procedure has a greater than 80 percent success rate.
In terms of risks associated with the procedure, they include:
Vasectomy is one method of birth control for men not wishing to conceive children, however it is considered permanent and a reversal may not be successful. For those seeking alternatives to vasectomy, there are several options for both men and women:
Specifically for men:
For the female options, birth control medications can increase risk for blood clots and breast cancer, surgeries are expensive and painful with several risks and potential complications, and barrier methods and spermicidal products (IUD, diaphragm, Sponge) have limited effectiveness in pregnancy prevention.
It requires research and education to decide upon the best contraception for a man and woman engaging in sexual activity. There are alternative to vasectomy, which demonstrate some effectiveness, however there are also risks which need to be considered. Consult your physician before seeking any alternatives to having a vasectomy.
It is not uncommon for a man to get a vasectomy during a marriage or long-term relationship, only to want a vasectomy reversal, or a vasovasostomy (pronounced "vay-zo-vay-zost-oh-me), in the future.
If the goal is conceiving children, sperm retrieval rather than vasectomy reversal can be considered. Assistive reproductive technologies have come a long way, and demonstrate up to 30 percent success in achieving pregnancy. Sperm retrieval is less invasive for the man, as well, however, because this process would require the woman to undergo in vitro fertilization or in utero fertilization, she would need to take fertility drugs and the risk for multiple births is increased.
If the goal is to produce children through natural means, a vasectomy reversal is the only option, and carried an average 80 percent success rate.
Talk to your Urologist or Fertility Specialist to get all the facts before making the decision about vasectomy reversal.