Whether you and your partner have decided that you’re done having kids, or you’ve decided against having kids altogether, you may decide the most appropriate answer is a vasectomy. In the United States alone, about half a million men will get a vasectomy each year. Globally, about 50 million men have already had one. So, while getting a vasectomy is a common procedure, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anxiety around deciding to do it.
Before you have your procedure, it’s a good idea to know what you should expect. Knowing what’s ahead will help you ease the nerves and make sure that you understand exactly what’s going to happen – and if it’s really the right decision for you.
- In some states, there’s a waiting period. Regardless of how long you’ve been thinking about getting a vasectomy, some states will require you to wait before the procedure can be done. In New York, for example, you need to wait thirty days before you can actually receive a vasectomy. This means that, if you know you’re ready, get your procedure scheduled as soon as possible.
- The procedure is fast and basically painless (And, yes, when women say that, we’re comparing it to childbirth!). Times have changed the way most vasectomies in the United States are performed, making it a procedure that is relatively easy to recover from. In fact, no blade is even required. Instead, a small hole is made in the scrotum so that a hook can be inserted and the vas deferens, what actually carries the sperm, can be removed.
- The results aren’t immediate. While a vasectomy can feel quite final, you will still be carrying live sperm for a bit, making it possible to get your partner pregnant. At one point, the standard rule was to wait twelve weeks before being confident that your sperm were no longer being carried, but according to some studies that rule has changed. To know for sure if you really are “shooting blanks”, have your doctor take a semen sample so that there is no doubt.
And, once you have the procedure done, it’s a good idea to give yourself time to recover before being sexually active again. While it is possible to have sex post-vasectomy, oftentimes this can result in painful consequences, like severe bruising, so it’s best to wait at least a few days.