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What should I do to prepare for my vasectomy?

How do I go about organizing a vasectomy?

Most men will go to their GP in the first instance. The GP will have your medical records and be able to discuss if there are any reasons you shouldn't have a vasectomy. Your GP will refer you on to a practitioner. You can also go direct to a Urologist, or private practitioner.

When should I schedule it?

This question is more important than people sometimes think. Most vasectomies are done on a Thursday/Friday to minimise work disruption, but you might like to think about your hobbies too. For example:- If you are a cyclist, then it's likely you will want to do a lot of cycling from spring onwards, therefore scheduling the vasectomy for the winter will allow you time to heal, without disturbing your hobby.

How much does it cost?

In the US most health insurance plans cover the cost of vasectomy, but a guideline price for the simple out-patient procedure is around $300-$1000. In countries where a National Health Service operates, usually it's done under that scheme free. However, the option does exist of paying privately and avoiding waiting lists. Typical costs are around £500 in the UK for a vasectomy. Reversal is much more expensive, with prices starting at $5000 in the US and £3500 in the UK.

Can I check out the Doctor's qualifications and licence to practice?

On our other site we have a page of links where you can check these facts out with the relevant medical boards. So far we have The UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand. If you find any more please let us know!

I've booked an appointment for a consultation, but the doctor has asked me to bring my wife - why?

In a couple, the decision to have a vasectomy affects both partners, so logically both should be involved. Research clearly shows that regret and requests for reversal are much rarer if men have had good counselling, and the couple have been involved with the decision. Unfortunately, this is not explained, and tends to come across as "You can't have a vasectomy without your wife's signature" - which isn't the case!

Joint counselling isn't a legal requirement anywhere to my knowledge, but many doctors prefer it for the reasons above. As far as I know, no laws exist anywhere requiring a wife's consent for the husbands vasectomy. What can happen is that there is one form to acknowledge receipt of counselling, and consent for the operation that both are asked to sign.

Your medical history

At the consultation, you should tell your doctor about any pain you have experienced in your scrotum or penis, or any odd lumps or bumps you have discovered at any point - whether they are still present or not. Ask whether anything in your medical history (including that of your male relatives), suggests you should not have a vasectomy. You should also ask if there is any reason to prefer one procedure over another, or whether you are especially susceptible to any complications resulting from vasectomy.

Do I need to shave? If so, what do I shave?

Ask your Doctor what his preference is on this one, as it does vary between doctors. If your doctor wants you to shave, you need to shave your scrotum and up to the base of the penis. It's usually best to do this the night before in the bath/shower - you might be nervous on the day and slip! Use wet shaving, as using an electric razor can cause a shaving rash, causing doctors to delay the surgery.

What should I wear on the day?

Jogging pants and jockstrap is the most practical outfit according to most people we've talked to. Don't forget to wear a shirt as well!

Will I get a sedative on the day?

This is fairly common practice in the USA, but not so common elsewhere. If you decide you need a sedative on the day, it may be too late. You need to discuss this with the doctor BEFORE the day, as he may need to make preparations.

Can my wife / partner be present?

Again, you need to discuss this beforehand. Some doctors may allow it, but most will not.

What do I tell the kids / parents / friends etc.?

Do you need to tell anyone anyway? Who you tell is ultimately your decision, but if you do decide to tell people it's a good idea to plan your approach, and the level of detail you will go into in advance. We have heard tales of awkward questions causing loss of speech and choking on corn flakes over breakfast!!

When I told my male friends I was considering a vasectomy they thought I was mad - is this the usual reaction?

Depends on the age, marital status and how many kids they have! The two usual misconceptions about vasectomy are that you shoot nothing on ejaculation, and your hormones change with a loss of masculinity. Both are not the case. You still ejaculate 97% (approx.) of what you did prior to vasectomy, and you still produce testosterone.

These misconceptions are common, and often last until men reach the point in their lives where they start considering a permanent birth control solution. A study published in 2003 by Marie Stopes International found that only 26% of men could identify what happened in a vasectomy. 22% either didn't know, or thought that vasectomy stopped you ejaculating, and 20% thought that vasectomy gave you a higher voice!!

Most young and single men will give you this reaction, but older men or men who have had a vasectomy already will react differently. You will probably find more vasectomised men amongst your circle of friends, colleagues and family than you think!

Quick check points:-

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Arrange for a lift home afterwards. You will have had an anaesthetic, and possibly a sedative and your driving will be impaired.

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Get yourself a jockstrap that fits comfortably from a sports store. Wearing briefs a size too small for support is uncomfortable. A jock is more comfortable, and provides better support!

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Vasectomies are often done on a Thursday/Friday to cause the least interference with work. Before you have the procedure, make sure you have a number of who to contact out of hours/weekends if you are worried.

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Check how many semen samples you need to give. Also, when and where to give them.

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You might experience a feeling of sadness when you are told you are sterile. The finality of being told you are sterile can cause this reaction, so be prepared!

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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.