Exploring Your Options: How Effective is a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a permanent male sterilization procedure. This simple surgery can be performed by a doctor in an office, hospital, or clinic. The vasectomy procedure is often regarded as highly effective. 

The Different Types of Vasectomies

There are two types of vasectomies commonly available: 

1. Conventional Vasectomy

With a conventional vasectomy, a small incision in man’s skin is made so that the tiny tubes in the scrotum that carry sperm, known as the vas deferens, can be accessed. Internally, the vas deferens tubes are cut or closed so sperm cannot leave the body and cause a pregnancy. Lastly, the tubes and skin are sutured closed and allowed to heal.

2. No-Scalpel Vasectomy

With a no-scalpel vasectomy, only a small puncture hole is made in the skin to access the vas deferens tubes, instead of making an incision. The no-scalpel method lowers the risk of post-procedure complications and typically takes less time to heal. Though the no-scalpel vasectomy can reduce complications, many men still undergo the traditional procedure due to cost, doctor preference, and other factors.

How Effective Are Vasectomies?

Men who opt for a vasectomy as a method of contraception see a wide array of advantages. Many men note that the main advantage of a vasectomy is its effectiveness. 

Similarly to how a tubal ligation procedure works for women, a vasectomy is a one-time procedure that provides permanent contraception. If you and your significant other are in the process of deciding between either a tubal ligation or a vasectomy – note that a vasectomy:

  • Can be performed outpatient
  • Is often less complex
  • Is likely more affordable

Noted in a study published in Fertility and Sterility, a vasectomy’s recanalization rate falls between 0.3% – 0.6%. The procedure is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancies. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, some of the most common contraceptives and their failure rates include:


Contraception Method Failure Rate
Hormonal Implant 0.05%
Vasectomy 0.15% – 0.5%
IUD 0.2% – 0.8%
Standard Birth Control Pill 9%
Vaginal Ring 9%
Male Condom 18%


Although the vasectomy procedure is known for its effectiveness, it can take a considerable amount of time for semen to be completely free of sperm. In some cases, it can take many months to achieve sperm-free semen.

Two to three months after your vasectomy procedure, your doctor will likely ask you to provide a semen sample that can be tested. It is best to avoid having intercourse without another form of contraception until after you are assured that there is no sperm in your semen. 

When Can You Have Sex Again Post-Vasectomy?

After a vasectomy, many men wonder when they can safely resume sexual activity. There are two key timelines to consider when establishing the best time to have sex again following a vasectomy:

  • When will sexual intercourse be pain-free?
  • When will semen be sperm-free?

Typically, pain following a vasectomy procedure only lasts for around one week. Once the pain subsides and your incision site is headed, you can resume sexual intercourse, but remember that your semen may still have sperm in it and that sex without an additional form of contraception can still pose a risk of pregnancy.

According to the University of Virginia Department of Urology, sperm may still be present in semen for over six months post-vasectomy. Although newly produced sperm can no longer travel beyond the altered vas deferens, there is likely some sperm remaining in the vas deferens or urethra. During the first few months following a vasectomy, frequent ejaculation can help clear out any remaining sperm.

Verify Your Vasectomy’s Success at Home

With SpermCheck’s Vasectomy Home Test for Men, you can confirm the success of your vasectomy from the comfort of your home. This home test checks your semen for the presence of sperm, giving you peace of mind about your sterility status.

The SpermCheck Vasectomy Home Test provides accurate and trusted results quickly. After taking this easy-to-use test, your results will be ready in a matter of minutes.

Want to Know More?

  • Male Infertility 
  • Male Fertility Testing 

Compiled using information from the following sources:

  1. Cook LA, Pun A, Gallo MF, Lopez LM, Van Vliet HA. Scalpel versus no-scalpel incision for vasectomy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Mar 30;2014(3):CD004112. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004112.pub4. PMID: 24683021; PMCID: PMC6464377. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6464377/ 
  2. Schwingl PJ, Guess HA. Safety and effectiveness of vasectomy. Fertil Steril. 2000 May;73(5):923-36. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(00)00482-9. PMID: 10785217. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10785217/
  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Effectiveness of Birth Control Methods, Retrieved November 2023. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/infographics/effectiveness-of-birth-control-methods
  4. University of Virginia, Department of Urology, Pre and Post Vasectomy Instructions, Retrieved November 2023. https://med.virginia.edu/urology/for-patients-and-visitors/mens-health/vasectomy-how-it-works/pre-post-vasectomy-instructions/

The post Exploring Your Options: How Effective is a Vasectomy? appeared first on American Pregnancy Association.