Myths About Having a Vasectomy

Vasectomy is a common office procedure for men and is an excellent form of non-drug permanent birth control for couples. However, a lot of men are reluctant to undergo the snip. Most of the reluctance comes from myths surrounding vasectomy. Here are some common ones I hear and the truth behind the myth.

A nurse talking to a male patient
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Myths

  • You Won't Be Able to Ejaculate: If you could ejaculate before your vasectomy, you’ll ejaculate after your vasectomy. Ejaculatory fluid, semen, is made in the prostate and the seminal vesicles, which are not cut during a vasectomy. The amount of fluid that comes out of the testicle with sperm is less than 1 percent of the overall ejaculate volume. The muscle contractions that force fluid out during ejaculation come from the pelvis and, again, are not affected by vasectomy.​
  • Testosterone Levels Will Decrease: True, the testicle makes both sperm and testosterone. The difference is, the testicle makes testosterone and transports it through the bloodstream, not the vas deferens. Testosterone levels don’t go down as a result of vasectomy.
  • Vasectomy Causes Prostate Cancer: This myth actually started in the medical literature about 15 years ago. There was a large longitudinal study that suggested a link between men who underwent vasectomy and developed prostate cancer later in life. First of all, this makes no medical sense. Sperm production has nothing to do with prostate cancer development. What is more likely, and studies have been done since to show no correlation , is that men who undergo vasectomy are more enfranchised in the medical community and therefore get screened more often for prostate cancer. The majority of prostate cancer is found through screening, not through developing symptoms. Therefore, a man who undergoes vasectomy is more likely to get screened for prostate cancer than a man who doesn’t.
  • Vasectomy Shuts Down Sperm Production: Vasectomy just blocks sperm production. Men continue to make sperm, it just has nowhere to go. Sperm typically live about 3-5 days and then peter out. Therefore, if a guy doesn’t ejaculate every 5 days or so, his sperm die anyway—only to be replaced by millions more. After a vasectomy, the same thing happens; sperm are always in a constant state of production and decay, regardless of whether they have anywhere to go. This explains why vasectomy reversal works, should you change your mind.
  • It's Easier for a Woman to Get Her Tubes Tied: Nice try. Tubal ligation in the United States is usually done under general or epidural anesthesia and usually takes longer than the 10-20 minute vasectomy. It also has a higher serious complication rate.

Final Thoughts

So don't let these myths block you from getting a vasectomy. If you and your partner would like to have sex without worrying about having (more) kids, vasectomy is a great option. Talk to your physician to get more information.

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  1. Bhindi B, Wallis CJD, Nayan M, et al. The Association Between Vasectomy and Prostate Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(9):1273-1286.  doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.2791

  2. Tubal Ligation. US National Library of Medicine. January 2018.