Friday, November 18, 2016
A vasectomy may not be the most romantic act of love you could imagine doing for your partner, but it is one of the most caring.
Getting a vasectomy takes some of the burden of ongoing contraception from your partner and spares her the more invasive option of permanent contraception for females: tubal ligation.
Vasectomy, or male sterilisation, is a simple surgical procedure and is one of the most effective methods of contraception.
November 18 is World Vasectomy Day, a growing movement that is encouraging men to have more involvement in their family planning.
It’s also an opportunity to celebrate the impact vasectomy has on the lives of men, women and their families, as well as the more far-reaching benefits of improved maternal and child health, long-term environmental sustainability and poverty reduction.
For couples who no longer wish to continue having children or who never want to have a child, vasectomy is one of the best possible options.
Vasectomy is great because it is:
- Quick - it takes about 15 minutes
- Cheap - a vasectomy at Family Planning costs $385, a fraction of the cost of tubal ligation
- Very effective – the failure rate is 1 in 1,000 after the 3 month initial waiting period
- An easy procedure – you will be able to return to work within a few days.
Vasectomy is truly an act of love when compared to the equivalent option for women, tubal ligation.
Tubal ligation involves a general anaesthetic in New Zealand, abdominal surgery, a higher chance of complications and more pain after the surgery. Tubal ligation is also less effective than vasectomy.
We know lots of Kiwi men are already sharing in this responsibility of family planning. New Zealand has some of the highest vasectomy rates in the world, and these numbers are continuing to grow.
A recent study in the New Zealand Medical Journal shows that in the last 30 years, Kiwi couples’ choice of sterilisation has changed – with a fall in the rate of tubal ligations (from 22% to 8%), but a sharp increase in the rate of vasectomy (from 26% to 40%).
However myths and misconceptions still surround vasectomy and stop men from considering it as an option.
Five vasectomy myths busted:
1. I’ll lose my sex drive
A vasectomy will not affect your sex drive, your ability to get an erection or have an orgasm. Everything will be just the same as before, but your ejaculate (cum) will not contain sperm.
2. It’ll really hurt
Vasectomy is actually a minor procedure with local anaesthetic and shouldn’t hurt. You might notice some discomfort during the surgery and some soreness after, but you can ask your doctor about pain relief. Resting is one of the best ways to look after yourself after the procedure. Things that have been described as being more painful than vasectomy include getting stung by a bee or stubbing your toe!
3. I’ll never be able to change my mind and have more children
It is possible to reverse a vasectomy but there is no guarantee this will result in a baby – on average, 50 percent of reversals result in a pregnancy. So it’s important to think through the decision carefully.
If you think there is a chance you may change your mind in future, talk to your doctor about what options might be available for you. One option is to freeze sperm for the future.
4. I’ll have to take lots of time off work to recover
You can expect some bruising and soreness for a few days after the procedure, during which you should plan to stay at home. If you work in an office, you can probably return to work after two days, but you will need to wait longer if your job involves anything physical or if you want to play any sport.
You should also wait at least two or three days before having sex again. Remember that a vasectomy does not work instantly and for the first three months you will need to use another method of contraception.
5. My testosterone levels will decrease
Your testosterone levels won’t decrease if you have a vasectomy. While the testicles make both sperm and testosterone, sperm is carried by the vas deferens (the tubes that are operated on) while testosterone travels through the blood stream – so it won’t be affected by the vasectomy.
Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.