Exploring Your Options: How Effective is a Vasectomy?

Vasectomy is a permanent male sterilization procedure. This simple operation can be performed by a doctor in an office, hospital, or clinic. The vasectomy procedure is often considered highly effective.

The Different Types of Vasectomies

There are two types of vasectomies that are commonly available:

1. Gentle Vasectomy

With a standard vasectomy, a small incision in the man’s skin is made so that the small tubes in the scrotum that carry sperm, known as the vas deferens, can be accessed. Internally, the vas deferens tubes are cut or closed so that sperm cannot leave the body and cause pregnancy. Finally, the tubes and skin are sutured closed and allowed to heal.

2. No-Scalpel Vasectomy

With a vasectomy without a scalpel, only a small hole is made in the skin to access the vas deferens tubes, instead of making an incision. The scalpel-free procedure lowers the risk of complications after the procedure and usually takes less time to heal. Although no-scalpel vasectomy can reduce complications, many men still undergo the traditional procedure due to cost, physician preference, and other factors.

How Effective Are Vasectomies?

Men who choose to have a vasectomy as a method of contraception see a wide range of benefits. Many men note that the main advantage of a vasectomy is its effectiveness.

Similar to how the tubal ligation procedure works for women, a vasectomy is a one-time procedure that provides permanent contraception. If you and your loved one are in the process of deciding between either a tubal ligation or a vasectomy – remember that a vasectomy:

  • Can be done outpatient
  • It’s usually not that complicated
  • Probably more affordable

Noted in a study published in Fertility and Sterility, the recanalization rate of vasectomy is between 0.3% – 0.6%. The method is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, some of the most common contraceptives and their failure rates include:


Method of Contraception Failure Rate
Hormonal Implants 0.05%
Vasectomy 0.15% – 0.5%
IUD 0.2% – 0.8%
Common Birth Control Pills 9%
Door Ring 9%
Male condoms 18%


Although the vasectomy procedure is known for its effectiveness, it may take a long time for the sperm to completely degenerate. In some cases, it can take several months to achieve sperm-free sperm.

Two to three months after your vasectomy procedure, your doctor will likely ask you to provide a semen sample that can be tested. It is best to avoid intercourse without another method of contraception until you are sure there are no sperm in your semen.

When Can You Have Sex Again Post-Vasectomy?

After a vasectomy, many men wonder when they can safely resume sexual activity. There are two main timelines to consider when establishing the best time to resume sex after a vasectomy:

  • When will sex be painless?
  • When will the semen be sperm-free?

Usually, the pain following a vasectomy procedure only lasts for about a week. Once the pain has subsided and your incision site has healed, you can resume intercourse, but remember that your sperm may still have sperm in it and intercourse without an additional method of contraception can still cause risk of pregnancy.

According to the University of Virginia Department of Urology, sperm may still be present in the semen for more than six months post-vasectomy. Although newly produced sperm can no longer travel past the altered vas deferens, there is likely to be some sperm left in the vas deferens or urethra. In the first few months after a vasectomy, frequent ejaculation will help remove any remaining sperm.

Verify the Success of Your Vasectomy at Home

At SpermCheck’s Vasectomy Home Test for Men, you can confirm the success of your vasectomy from the comfort of your home. This home test checks your semen for the presence of sperm, giving you peace of mind about your sterility status.

The SpermCheck The Vasectomy Home Test provides accurate and reliable results quickly. After taking this easy-to-use test, your results will be ready in minutes.

Want to Know More?

  • Male Infertility
  • Male Fertility Testing

Compiled using information from the following sources:

  1. Cook LA, Pun A, Gallo MF, Lopez LM, Van Vliet HA. Scalpel versus no-scalpel incision for vasectomy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Mar 30;2014(3):CD004112. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004112.pub4. PMID: 24683021; PMCID: PMC6464377.
  2. Schwingl PJ, Guess HA. Safety and effectiveness of vasectomy. Fertil Sterile. 2000 May;73(5):923-36. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(00)00482-9. PMID: 10785217.
  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Effectiveness of Birth Control Methods, Retrieved November 2023.
  4. University of Virginia, Department of Urology, Instructions Before and After Vasectomy, Retrieved November 2023.

The post Exploring Your Options: How Effective Is Vasectomy? first appeared in the American Pregnancy Association.

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