The Cost of a Vasectomy

You may be considering a vasectomy but likely have questions about the different steps in the process and how much they cost.

Does medical insurance usually cover the expense? How does the cost of a vasectomy compare with other methods of birth control? What about the costs if the procedure is reversed later?

This article answers questions about vasectomy and will help you to know more about the costs.

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Vasectomy as a Sterilization Method

A vasectomy, also known as male sterilization, is considered to be a permanent birth control method. In the United States, an estimated 527,476 vasectomies were performed in 2015. In some regions, such as the U.K, the number of men undergoing a vasectomy has dropped significantly in recent years.

The failure rate for vasectomy is very low. Rates of pregnancy are between 0.04% and 0.08% six months after the procedure. This rate can be higher, at 0.3% to 9%, when under six months. In other words, it's more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy once a semen analysis shows that sperm is no longer present in the semen.

A vasectomy is a surgical procedure. Yet the cost is about five times less than the cost of tubal ligation (female sterilization).

Before you seek a vasectomy, it may help to ask your healthcare provider about any laws or rules that apply in your state. In some areas, there may be waiting periods, age restrictions, required counseling, or spousal consent.

Average Cost

In the U.S., a vasectomy costs between $300 and $3,000. The cost of vasectomy will typically cover:

  • Initial consultation
  • The procedure itself
  • Anesthesia
  • Follow-up semen analyses (up to two or three of these)

Most healthcare providers or clinics will include all of these in one price. Others may charge for each individual service. Be sure to ask about this as you are choosing a healthcare provider.

In most cases, the cost is the same for both types of vasectomy procedures: the no-scalpel vasectomy (sometimes called keyhole) or a standard vasectomy.

Vasectomy costs may differ quite a bit, depending on where the procedure takes place. It is usually done by a board-certified urologist in a healthcare provider’s office, a clinic, or outpatient surgical facility or hospital.

Your vasectomy may cost more if it takes place in an outpatient medical facility. This is because some of these centers charge an additional facility fee. Keep in mind, too, that side effects or complications may sometimes add to the cost of a vasectomy.

Costs vs. Other Forms of Birth Control

It's important to weigh the costs of a vasectomy against the costs of not having one. If you are certain that you wish to prevent pregnancy, then it's necessary to look at how effective it is.

The cost of having a child is substantial. It's not just an unplanned pregnancy, however, that must be considered when comparing the cost of a vasectomy with other birth control methods.

Other forms of birth control can be pricey if not covered by health insurance. A birth control pill is relatively inexpensive, for example, but all of those months across a lifetime will add up until menopause. The cost could well exceed that of a vasectomy.

Some methods also may present health risks over time, as is the case with blood clots linked to the use of some birth control pills. Common side effects include weight gain or mood swings, and in those who have a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, the pill can mildly increase the risk.

An intrauterine device (IUD) can be very effective, but there is always the looming risk of infection. There is also risk of a perforation caused by the IUD pushing through the wall of the uterus.

Likewise, a lifetime supply of condoms may or may not cost more than a vasectomy. It depends on your taste and how often you might need them. A vasectomy is much more convenient, though it's critical to remember that it will not lower the risk of sexually transmitted diseases as condoms do.

Recap

Vasectomies are a safe and effective form of birth control. They generally cost between $300 to $3,000 in the U.S., depending on factors like insurance coverage or the kind of facility where it's done. The vasectomy also is cost-effective when compared with other methods, both in terms of expense and overall health.

Medical Insurance Coverage

Most health insurance companies will cover vasectomy costs when they are done as an outpatient procedure. Check with your insurance provider, though, to make sure that they include vasectomy benefits.

Usually, health insurance companies will cover most or all of your vasectomy cost after your yearly deductible has been met. If you qualify, Medicaid or other state programs in your area may also cover the cost of a vasectomy.

If you do not have a health insurance plan, some providers or clinics may offer a sliding scale fee. The cost is then based on your income level.

Make sure you ask about which payment options your healthcare provider accepts. You can check with them to see if they offer you a discount on your vasectomy if you pay in cash. It also may be an option to set up a payment plan.

The Affordable Care Act does not require health insurance plans to cover the cost of vasectomy, as is the case with many forms of female birth control. Each health plan will have its own coverage and deductible for the procedure.

The Cost of Reversal

Another question to ask yourself is whether you are sure that you want to undergo permanent sterilization. A vasectomy reversal is possible if you change your mind, but it's expensive.

The cost to reverse a vasectomy is between $3,000 and $15,000. Most health insurance companies will not cover this procedure. Furthermore, the success rate varies greatly when a reversal is done to restore fertility and achieve pregnancy.

In general, the more time that passes between vasectomy and a vasectomy reversal procedure, the greater the chance that it will be ineffective.

Recap

Health insurance companies usually cover all or part of the cost of a vasectomy. You need to check your plan, though, for the specifics. It's also important to know that your health insurance may not cover the costs of reversing a vasectomy if you decide to do so later.

Alternatives

There are no other permanent birth control alternatives to vasectomy in a person who has testes. Permanent birth control for a person who has ovaries includes tying the fallopian tubes (tubal ligation).

The cost of a vasectomy is usually much less than tubal ligation. Non-monetary costs are also higher for tubal ligation. The risk of complications or even death from a tubal ligation is much higher than that of a vasectomy.

In one study, men who had higher education or income were more likely to opt for a vasectomy, while women with lower education and income were more likely to have their tubes tied.

Summary

Vasectomy is a birth control option that is generally less risky than a tubal ligation, or some of the other methods like birth control pills. It also compares favorably against other methods in terms of cost and how effective it is in preventing pregnancy.

The cost of a vasectomy in the U.S. is between $300 and $3,000, making it less expensive than tubal ligation. This depends, though, on if and what type of insurance you may have and where the vasectomy is done. Be sure to check these details before moving forward with your decision.

Reversing a vasectomy is much more expensive and there's no guarantee it will be successful. Keep in mind that many factors come into play when weighing the cost of vasectomy, including the chance that you may later regret whatever decision you have made.

A Word From Verywell

Before choosing vasectomy, it's important to have a deep and thoughtful discussion with your partner. Then follow through with your healthcare provider to discuss your options.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What type of healthcare provider performs a vasectomy?

    Usually, a urologist will perform a vasectomy. A urologist is a healthcare provider who specializes in the urinary tract and male reproductive organs.

  • Are there other costs after a vasectomy is done?

    Not usually but it is possible. If sperm are still present in your semen six months after it's been done, then the vasectomy has failed. This happens in less than 1% of cases. The expense of a second attempt would then be necessary.

  • How much does a tubal ligation cost?

    The cost of a tubal ligation (female sterilization) can range anywhere from $0 to $6000. It can be a free or low-cost procedure depending on type of insurance and where surgery is performed.

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10 Sources
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