Frequently Asked Questions

Questions About Vasectomy

  • Vasectomy is the most reliable of all birth control methods. A tested, successful vasectomy is 50 times more reliable than the birth control pill, 300 times more reliable than condoms in preventing pregnancy.
  • Vasectomy is a convenient office procedure. The procedure itself takes 5 to 10 minutes and the benefits last a lifetime.
  • Vasectomy is, over time, the least expensive method of birth control. Over several years, it would cost more to use the pill, the IUD, even condoms, than the one-time cost of a vasectomy.
  • Vasectomy is the only currently available method other than condoms that allows the man to take responsibility for preventing pregnancy.

Vasectomy is the most effective of all the methods of birth control. It also ranks among the safest and most effective of surgeries. But nothing is perfect, and no surgery is 100% safe or effective.

The failure rate for this method of vasectomy has been reported as 0.4%. That is to say, 4 out of 1000 men would remain fertile, even several months after the vasectomy. Failure can occur due to reconnection of the cut ends during healing, formation of a new channel through which sperm can travel, failure to identify and cut the vas, or duplication of the vas on one side. If your semen test remained positive, we would repeat the vasectomy procedure at no cost to you.

During vasectomy, the vas deferens from each side is cut high in the scrotum. The sperm stored “downstream” in the channel leading to the prostate may still be ejaculated and cause pregnancy. The pathway needs to be emptied, which takes a variable amount of time, and will be complete in some men as early as 6 weeks, with at least 15 ejaculations, while other men require 6 months or more to clear.

Yes. The amount of semen a man ejaculates after vasectomy is only decreased by about 5%. Without a microscope, you could not detect the absence of sperm cells in the fluid.

The testes will continue to produce sperm cells that will go through their life cycle as before. Although the testes produce millions of microscopic sperm cells each day, the actual volume of sperm stays quite small and stable. Old sperm cells continue to be reabsorbed naturally within the body as are all other old cells throughout the rest of the body. Sperm antibodies help in the removal process, but these are not harmful to the body.

If you have a negative semen check once, there is an exceedingly small chance (about 1 in 2000) that you will experience a late failure, with spontaneous reappearance of sperm in the semen. You are welcome to bring in a fresh semen specimen for repeat testing at any time that you wish reassurance of sterility.

Unfortunately, one cannot simply “undo” sterilization.

If your life plan changes unexpectedly, the options for having children after a vasectomy include adoption, attempted vasectomy reversal, or pregnancy by artificial insemination using either frozen stored sperm, fresh donor sperm, or sperm surgically withdrawn from the testes. All forms of assisted fertility involve a considerable commitment of resources and are not generally covered by health insurance.


  • If a man does not want vasectomy and is having it because he is told he should, he may feel resentment.
  • If he is having problems with impotence or sexual fears or an unhappy marriage, it is not likely that vasectomy will help any of these problems.
  • If a man is unsure whether he is going to want more children, he should not have a vasectomy.
  • If a man’s sexual fulfillment or his partner’s satisfaction depend upon his being able to cause pregnancy, then sterilization would probably create a sexual problem for him.

Frequently Asked Questions

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