Vasectomies are often touted as being the best form of permanent contraception – and for good reason. Not only are vasectomies low cost and low risk in comparison with other permanent procedures, such as tubal ligation, but they’re also over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. On top of the obvious benefits, vasectomies can also improve someone’s sex life by potentially removing the need for other forms of birth control, such as pills or condoms (note: condoms are still required for STD protection), which can help make sex more spontaneous, fun, and carefree.
However, carefree does not mean careless. There’s a little bit of a waiting period before the 99% effectiveness comes into play. From the initial vasectomy to recovery, there’s a window in which pregnancy can still occur.
Vasectomies, Sperm, and Semen Analysis
In a no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy, the flow of sperm is interrupted by cutting and tying the vas deferens, which is a long tube that connects the testicles to the penis. While vasectomies prevent future sperm from entering the ejaculate, existing sperm may remain present for up to three months. During this time, pregnancy can still occur. As such, it’s imperative that you continue to use some form of birth control for this period of time.
To ensure your vasectomy is a success, you must return to the vasectomy clinic three months after the procedure for a semen analysis, which will reveal whether there are any active sperm still present in your ejaculate. A successful vasectomy will result in zero active sperm. However, if there are still sperm present in the sample, then you will have to return for additional testing and continue using contraceptives until the sperm count is down to zero.
Can a Vasectomy Fail?
In rare circumstances, vasectomies sometimes fail and result in pregnancy. However, in most cases, this is caused by patients assuming that they’re in the clear and having unprotected sex. It’s very important that you wait until your semen analysis test turns up a zero-sperm reading. This is the only way to know for sure that your vasectomy was successful.
Failed vasectomies are also sometimes caused by an inexperienced or unskilled surgeon. As such, the best way to prevent a vasectomy from failing is to find a vasectomy surgeon who is highly experienced and has a high success rate.
Between your due diligence and your surgeon’s experience, the odds are extraordinarily in favor of your vasectomy being a success. If you’re interested in learning more about vasectomies, contact San Diego Vasectomy Center today.