Vasectomy is a type of surgery that prevents a man from being able to get a woman pregnant. It is a permanent form of birth control.
A vasectomy works by cutting the tubes that carry the sperm out of the testicles. The surgery usually takes no more than 30 minutes. Most men go home the same day. In most cases, recovery takes less than a week. Having a vasectomy does not affect your sex life.
It takes about three months before it is effective. Your doctor will test your semen to make sure that there are no sperm in it.
Vasectomies can sometimes be reversed, but not always. Having a vasectomy does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV/AIDS. Men who have had a vasectomy should still practice safe sex to avoid STDs.
NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Statistics and Research
- Key Statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth: Vasectomy (National Center for Health Statistics)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Reproductive Sterilization (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in Spanish
- Find a Urologist (Urology Care Foundation)