Aside from abstinence, getting a vasectomy is the most affordable form of permanent contraception. In fact, it’s one of the only forms of contraception that’s both affordable and permanent. It’s also minimally invasive, has a brief recovery period, is covered by most health insurance providers and is accompanied by a minimal risk of complications.
When it comes to avoiding conception, you can either sterilize the male participant, sterilize the female participant or abstain from sexual intercourse. Other methods, such as avoiding ovulation or using oral or intrauterine contraceptives (IUDs), are either less effective or less than permanent.
When cost is a consideration, vasectomy has tubal ligation (female sterilization method) beat. The following is a breakdown of what to expect from the vasectomy procedure:
- Procedure time: 10 minutes in a physician’s office (minor procedure)
- Anesthesia: Local
- Recovery and complications: 48 hours of rest, rare swelling (light)
- Failure rate: 1%
- Long-term health risks: Rare cases of inflammation
Total vasectomy cost: $1,395
- Tubal ligation is more involved, riskier, more prone to failure and much more expensive:
- Procedure time: 1 day in the hospital (major surgery)
- Anesthesia: General anesthesia
- Recovery and complications: Complete bed rest for one week
- Failure rate: 2%
- Long-term health risks: Pelvic pain, risk of hysterectomy, post-tubal ligation syndrome and a mortality rate of four in 100,000
Total tubal ligation cost: Up to $5,000
Not only are birth control pills, IUDs, condoms and diaphragms temporary methods of contraception, but they can also be pricier over time too. On average, birth control pills are roughly 95% effective and cost as much as $600 or more per year. An IUD is a semi-permanent option — lasting up to 12 years but costing about $1,000 up front. Couples who use condoms twice per week will spend $150 or more per year. Diaphragms run women less than $100 per year, but work only 85% of the time. Finally, fertility awareness is free, but only 75% to 88% effective.
If you plan on enjoying a fulfilling sex life that’s virtually free from the risk of pregnancy, getting a vasectomy is 99% effective and affordable. Most insurance plans will cover this procedure and you’ll likely be back to your normal self in fewer than three days.