Many myths exist surrounding the side effects of this procedure. We can be certain, however, that it is a safe method to prevent having kids.
Medical Advisors: Alina Giraldo Arizmendi – Urologist – and Luz Amparo Salazar – Psychologist.
As a couple, if you decide to not have any more kids, and you have said, “Ok, we think this is enough,” why not consider a vasectomy as a way of coming to the end to a cycle? It is not clear why some men many actually fear this procedure, which consists of preventing the release of sperm. Some psychologists have tried to interpret these responses, and say that they see the procedure as a threat to their virility, which is nothing more than fear presented in the form of a myth, legend or lie.
Urologist and head of the Urology Department at the University of Antioquia’s Faculty of Medicine, Alina Giraldo Arizmendi explains that this operation is an outpatient procedure and is practiced with local anesthesia: “A small incision is made to sever the vas deferens —one in each testicle— which carry the sperm from the testicles to the urethra. The vas deferens are very easy to find, which means there is no risk of error, as it is the densest duct of the spermatic cord. Once identified and severed, it is sectioned off, tied and cauterized. The vas deferens is then cut and tied. This is a standard technique and does not require a scalpel or stitches.”
Surgery lasts no longer than a half hour, 15 minutes per duct. After the procedure, the patient can go home on their own where they should rest for a maximum of three days and avoid activities that involve great effort, riding a bike or practicing any other high-performance sport for a maximum of eight days.
“There is no reason to fear the surgery, it isn’t uncomfortable. There are some patients that choose to go under general anesthesia, but it isn’t necessary. Vasectomies are the most popular form of birth control in countries that are most developed, culturally speaking, such as Japan, Canada and Scandinavian countries. This method is also more simple than tubal ligation, which is a more complex surgery, as more precautions must be taken.”
One of the most widely believed myths about vasectomies that makes men lose interest in getting the procedure, is that it takes away their sex drive. They feel they will fall into a downward spiral of impotency, premature ejaculation, or that they will not ejaculate again; which are nothing more than urban myths. For psychologist Luz Amparo Salazar, this fear is rooted in the figure of the “…great patriarch; because in Latin America, the belief persists that men are sacred and any operation that affects their fertility, affects their masculinity. But masculinity is not just determined by their genitals, it’s determined by their brains: a man is a man because of how their mind is programmed and how culture has programmed them, that is what makes them a man.”
For urologist Giraldo Arizmendi, “Men have always left women responsible for birth control, who have spent years taking hormones and then after that, must undergo an operation. This is male chauvinism and it is a lack of what we can be called paternal understanding. Yes, it is understandable that it is scary for men to have their testicles operated on, but it is clear that there is no risk to this surgery. This procedure can also be helpful for those who have active sex lives; a man that knows that he cannot get someone pregnant, can enjoy it more because the thought that having sex can lead to pregnancy, takes away some of the pleasure of it.”
Very few vasectomy procedures are reversed (about 2%). In order to verify the surgery was successful, a semen analysis must be conducted after three months, at which point the cauterization should be complete. It is important to note that a vasectomy can be reversed after an operation. Until that happens, there is no chance of being fertile.
Any man over 18 can get the surgery, whether they have children or not. While vasectomies are 99.85% effective, they do not, however, prevent sexually transmitted infections.