Vasectomy: Long-Term Care

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

For most men, vasectomy is a very effective form of permanent birth control. There are other forms of male birth control, as well as surgical options for permanent birth control for women, but vasectomy is one of the simplest cost-effective and low-risk permanent solutions. Find out more about the long-term implications of a vasectomy.

Benefits of Vasectomy

A vasectomy offers a permanent birth control solution if you know you no longer want to father children. It will allow you to engage in sexual activity without using birth control. Successful vasectomies, in which there is a documented lack of sperm in the semen, are estimated to be about 99.95% effective at preventing pregnancy: pregnancy occurs after just one of every 2,000 procedures.

How long does complete sterility take after a vasectomy?
Verywell / Hilary Allison

To prevent unintended pregnancy, you will need to use other birth control methods for weeks to months after a vasectomy. Frequent ejaculation during this period helps clear the remaining sperm from your vas deferens.

A vasectomy does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases, so safe sex practices are still necessary.

Possible Future Surgeries

A vasectomy should be seen as a permanent sterilization procedure. In some cases, a vasectomy may need to be repeated, but these cases are fairly rare.

After your vasectomy, your healthcare provider will test your fertility by collecting a semen sample in the weeks after your vasectomy and testing the sample for viable sperm.

  • If there are viable sperm present in the initial semen sample, testing will be repeated.
  • If viable sperm are still present six months after your vasectomy, your healthcare provider will consider the vasectomy a failure. At this point, you may elect to repeat the vasectomy.

The American Urological Association guidelines note that the risk of vasectomy failure, requiring repeat vasectomy, is less than 1% when the surgeon uses techniques known to have a low failure rate.

Lifestyle Adjustments

There are no permanent lifestyle changes that are required after a vasectomy. Your sexual health, reproductive organs, and hormone levels will not change after surgery. You will be able to have sex without alternative birth control, but you should still use protection against sexually transmitted diseases if you are at risk.

If you decide later that you want to have children, you may consider harvesting sperm (epididymal sperm aspiration and/or testis sperm extraction, known as MESA/TESE) from the vas deferens combined with in vitro fertilization (IVF). A vasectomy reversal surgery is also an option, but this procedure is complicated and not always successful.

While concerns have been raised that vasectomies may increase the risk of certain cancers or heart disease, no studies have confirmed these links.

A Word From Verywell

Although vasectomies can be reversed, this surgery should be considered permanent. There are many myths about vasectomies, but this procedure remains one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to achieve permanent birth control. You should discuss plans for a vasectomy with your partner and your healthcare provider and consider your long-term plans before making a decision.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Urological Association. Vasectomy guideline. 2015.

  2. Rosenlund B, Sjöblom P, Dimitrakopoulos A, Hillensjö T. Epididymal and testicular sperm for intracytoplasmic sperm injection in the treatment of obstructive azoospermia. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1997;76(2):135-139. doi:10.3109/00016349709050069

  3. Wosnitzer MS, Goldstein M. Obstructive azoospermia. Urol Clin North Am. 2014;41(1):83-95. doi:10.1016/j.ucl.2013.08.013

  4. Cleveland Clinic. Vasectomy. 2020.

By Rachael Zimlich, BSN, RN
Rachael is a freelance healthcare writer and critical care nurse based near Cleveland, Ohio.