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Is it for me?

How popular is vasectomy?

Worldwide some 50 million men have undergone the procedure - this represents about 5% of married couples of reproductive age. Statistical gathering is poor in most countries. The countries with the best reporting systems report the highest rate of vasectomised men - but that doesn't mean the statistics are accurate! New Zealand has the highest rate of vasectomised men (23%), US/Europe approx 11%, and the lowest is China and India on 7-8%.

A recent US national survey found that 12% of married men between 20 and 39 have had a vasectomy - nearly a quarter of them in the 35 to 39 age group.

The 2002 statistics for the UK state that 18% of men between 16 and 69 have had a vasectomy - 30% of them were aged 40-64. Only 1% of men under 30 had had a vasectomy. Men between 40 and 49 were 50% more likely to have a vasectomy than a woman was to have had a tubal ligation.

Do men ever regret having had it done?

The satisfaction with the procedure is generally high. The chief causes of regret are:- The results of an ill-considered decision (often due to making the decision under pressure), Changes in circumstances some years later (such as the death of a child or remarriage), and "Post vasectomy pain syndrome" (PVP).

What if I change my mind in years to come? Is it reversible?

Vasectomy should not be considered contraception - it is sterilization, and should be regarded as permanent. If you think you might change your mind later, or are not totally sure you want to be sterilized, you should think about different methods of birth control. Reversal with restoration of fertility is possible, but becomes less likely as the years go on. In any case, the operation to reverse a vasectomy is expensive, reversal with restoration of fertility is uncertain, and becomes even less certain the longer after your vasectomy it is done.

I'm not sure I want to have a vasectomy - should I go ahead anyway?

Once again, vasectomy should not be considered contraception - it is permanent sterilization. Being nervous and having last minute jitters is perfectly normal, but if you have serious doubts or you are not sure, it is better to wait until these issues have been resolved. It's a good idea to talk through your doubts with your wife/partner and your doctor.

I'm getting pressurised into having it done - should I go along with it for a quiet life?

The decision to have a vasectomy affects both people in a couple. Therefore to some extent it will naturally be a joint decision. However, at the end of the day, it is something you need to be sure that you want to have done. Statistically, the men who regret vasectomy least are those where the couple both attended the counselling session, and it's a considered decision not made under pressure. The men who have been forced into vasectomy often regret the decision. It's a common reason for reversal, and those who have psychological/sexual difficulties after vasectomy are most often the ones forced into having it done.

I've got existing problems "Down there" - will a vasectomy make things worse?

Post vasectomy pain syndrome (PVP) can be caused by undiagnosed problems that existed before the vasectomy. So yes, a vasectomy may make an existing problem worse. If you have certain conditions, vasectomy should be delayed until the problem is resolved. Some conditions may increase the risks, or make the operation difficult. You should discuss your medical history with your doctor, and any problems should be checked out. You should mention any pains or abnormalities to the doctor, and discuss if a vasectomy is going to make things worse during your consultation.

My wife is of the age when the menopause is looming in a few years. Should I have a vasectomy?

Nobody can advise you what do on this question, or predict the future. When women cease to be fertile isn't set in stone - it can be very early, or very late. However, the question is certainly something to bear in mind when considering vasectomy.

I'm young, single and childfree - can I get a vasectomy?

This question is asked surprisingly often in alt.support.vasectomy. Posters generally report that the doctors reaction is usually favourable if approached in the right way. If you have a well thought out strategy, and can answer the doctors concerns then there seems to be little problem. In the UK vasectomies for childfree are rare on the NHS, but can often be done privately.

Quick check points:-

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Discuss vasectomy fully with your wife/partner

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Consider what happens if your situation should change - would you want to have the opportunity to father children?

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Vasectomy should be considered permanent. If you have doubts about being permanently sterile you should consider delaying the decision.

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Don't be pressurised into it - have it done if it's something you feel happy with!

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Disclaimer:- Information contained within this site is intended for the purpose of general information ONLY, and is not medical advice. For medical advice please consult a qualified Physician.