When you and your partner decide that a permanent method of birth control is the next step in your relationship, you will need to fully research your options. For men, a vasectomy is often the top choice, while for women, tubal ligation is a possibility. It can be difficult to decide which of the two of you will move forward with a permanent birth control solution, but making an informed decision will be easier once you evaluate the pros and cons of each option. Below, we have laid out the benefits and drawbacks of both vasectomies and tubal ligations, so that you and your partner can make a fully informed decision about which procedure is right for you.
A vasectomy is a permanent form of birth control for men that prevents the release of sperm during ejaculation. During this procedure, the vas deferens (the tube that transports sperm) is cut, which means that when ejaculation occurs, there is no sperm mixed with the seminal fluid. This procedure does not affect a man’s ability to ejaculate, nor does it alter the volume or appearance of the semen.
Pros of Vasectomies
As with any medical procedure, vasectomies have a number of pros and cons. When comparing this procedure to a tubal ligation, some clear pros are that vasectomies are quicker, safer, and less expensive. A vasectomy takes only around 10 to 30 minutes and is performed using a local anesthetic. This makes it a safer procedure than a tubal ligation, which requires general anesthesia. Vasectomies are done on an outpatient basis, so you can go home in as little as an hour after the procedure. Recovery time is minimal- you can go back to work 24 hours after the surgery is performed. You can also resume light activities after two or three days. Another pro of vasectomies is that they do not affect a man’s testosterone levels or the appearance or volume of the semen. Vasectomies also have a 99% success rate, which is why they are an excellent choice for anyone who is certain that they will not want any more children in the future. The fact that vasectomies can be reversed may be a pro to some, but since vasectomy reversals come with cons, this procedure should be viewed as a permanent birth control method.
Cons of Vasectomies
One of the cons of a vasectomy procedure is that they are generally permanent. Vasectomy reversals are possible in some cases, but they come with a host of complications. Even if the procedure goes smoothly, your fertility may still not return. Vasectomy reversals are expensive, complicated, and risky procedures, and there is no guarantee that it will work. This is why a vasectomy should only be a consideration for someone who is absolutely certain that they will not want any more children in the future. Another con of a vasectomy is that some men may experience ongoing pain in the testicle area that persists longer than the normal swelling and bruising that immediately follows the procedure. Also, vasectomies do not prevent against sexually transmitted diseases, so if a man is not in a monogamous relationship, he will still need to use a condom for STD prevention.
For women, a common permanent birth control option is a tubal ligation. This procedure is also known as getting your tubes tied, and it involves the cutting, tying, or blocking of the fallopian tubes. When these tubes are blocked, an egg can no longer travel through them from the ovaries and sperm cannot travel through them to reach the egg. The inability of the egg and the sperm to connect means that pregnancy will no longer be possible.
Pros of Tubal Ligation
Aside from the fact that tubal ligations are a permanent method of birth control, another pro is that this procedure is generally safe and well-tolerated. Tubal ligations are effective immediately following the procedure, while a man may not be fully sterile until up to three months after a vasectomy. The procedure also frees a woman of keeping up with her past birth control methods, such as remembering to take a pill. While some birth control methods alter hormone levels, tubal ligation does not affect a woman’s levels of estrogen or progesterone. When birth control isn’t always on someone’s mind, interest in sex may increase as well.
Cons of Tubal Ligation
When comparing a tubal ligation to a vasectomy, the main con is that tubal ligations are more extensive surgical procedures. They require hospitalization and general anesthesia, and there is a small chance of complications during the surgery. It’s also a longer and more complicated surgery than a vasectomy. Pain is also likely after the procedure, and recovery takes about a week. Additional cons of tubal ligation include the fact that there is a small failure rate which depends on the age of the patient, and like a vasectomy, this procedure does not provide protection from STDs. A tubal ligation is also more expensive than a vasectomy. Since this is a permanent procedure, a woman should be completely sure that she does not want any more children before she decides to get a tubal ligation. A prominent con of this procedure is that it can be followed with high rates of regret, especially among younger women of reproductive age. It is important to take the possibility of future life changes into account when deciding to pursue a permanent method of birth control.
Schedule Your Vasectomy in NJ
If you and your partner decide to pursue a permanent method of birth control, you will need to spend time weighing the pros and cons of each surgery and decide which is the best option for your situation. If you decide on a vasectomy, it is important to seek out a professional urologist to perform the procedure for you. Dr. Ron S. Israeli M.D. is a board-certified urologist based out of Livingston, New Jersey who specializes in vasectomies and other urological procedures. He provides a number of services focused on men’s health and is dedicated to providing treatment for various conditions. For more information about vasectomies and our other services or to schedule an appointment, do not hesitate to contact us today!