How Effective Is a Vasectomy?

If even the word vasectomy gives you chills, consider that 50 million men have had one, and 500,000 men have a vasectomy every year in the United States. That information tells you that this elective surgical procedure is a popular one, but it doesn’t prove it works. How effective is a vasectomy? Let’s find out.

Permanent Birth Control

Medical science tells us that getting a vasectomy provides permanent birth control for men. What a man considering a vasectomy wants to know more than anything else is: does it work?

Here are some facts and suppositions from reputable institutions:happy couple.

  • The National Institute of Health (NIH) tells us vasectomy is one of the most effective forms of birth control.
  • A vasectomy is more than 99% effective, says the NHS, or United Kingdom National Health Service.
  • Planned Parenthood states that a vasectomy is one of the most effective kinds of birth control. It is almost 100% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • The Cleveland Clinic says 1 in 10,000 cases can fail, but far less than for condoms which fail about 1% of the time or 1 out of 100 times one is used.

There seems to be universal agreement that a vasectomy is effective, the most effective, and more than 99% effective.

What Can Go Wrong?

Yes, vasectomy is effective, but what causes the 1% mistake? You certainly do not want to be part of that 1%.  

One of the first things Southland Urology will tell you is to not have unprotected sex after the procedure until you come back for a follow-up appointment. That appointment is specifically to test that your semen does not have any sperm in it. You may need to come back again if there is any residual sperm. In the meantime, use protection like a condom or other means if you have sex during that time period. In fact, your doctor may recommend that you ejaculate multiple times.

This could take 8 to 12 weeks before all sperm is gone from your tubes. Don’t have unprotected sex until your doctor tells you it’s safe. That is a short time to wait for a lifetime of permanent birth control.

What a Vasectomy DOES

A vasectomy does create a permanent form of birth control.

It does stop sperm from leaving your body by closing off and dividing the ends of the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm. 

It does mean you will still make semen but will be unable to ejaculate it because the semen does not contain sperm.

It does provide a safe and effective birth control method.

It does prevent you from having children (or more children) so be positive in your decision.

It does sometimes cause minor bruising and swelling immediately after the procedure

What a Vasectomy Does NOT Do

A vasectomy does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. It can still be in the semen.

It does not affect testosterone production. 

It does not affect libido. 

It does not affect the amount or taste of semen.

It does not affect erections, climaxes, or stamina.

You could say: Get it and forget it.

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Sources: Vasectomy (male sterilisation) – NHS (

What is the Effectiveness of a Vasectomy? (

How effective is vasectomy? | NICHD – Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (

Vasectomy failure: It’s uncommon, but there are 3 reasons it could happen | HealthPartners Blog