THIS PAGE CONTAINS INFORMATION ON BOTH MALE & FEMALE STERILIZATION

 

MALE STERILIZATION

What is sterilization?

Male Sterilization is also known as a Vasectomy or 'The Snip'. It is a permanent method of contraception and requires a small operation under local anaesthetic. The doctor or surgeon will make a small incision in the scrotum and pull out the vas deferens, which is the tube that connects the testicles to the penis. The doctor or surgeon will then cut the tube and the cut ends are then either tied off or heat sealed.

It is very important to view this method as irreversible. Vasectomies can be reversed for a small number of men but don't count on one of them being you as you may be very disappointed.

 

How does it work?

Because the tubes carrying the sperm are cut, no sperm are present in the semen when a man ejaculates. It takes some time for the sperm still left in your system (Above the cut) to clear your body so you will have to use additional contraception until being given the 'all clear'. You will be required to produce two semen samples to test the sperm content, the first will be around 12-15 weeks after the operation and the second a couple of months after the first. Two successive clear sperm counts, that is not containing any sperm are needed before you will be given the all clear.

 

What are the advantages?

  • It is permanent
  • The operation is done quickly at your local hospital, clinic or doctors surgery (Local hospitals often do this proceedure on Sundays so you won't have to take time off work)
  • You won't have to think about contraception once the 'all clear' is given (Except to protect you from STD's and HIV)

 

What are the disadvantages and common side-effects?

  • It doesn't work immediately
  • You will need to use additional contraception until given the all clear - usually around 6 months after the operation.
  • Sometimes (But very rarely) the man's tubes rejoin and he can become fertile again.
  • Bruising and/or discomfort for a couple of days following the operation, therefore it is advised not to do anything strenuous for the first week (Including intercourse) or lift any heavy objects.
  • Some men change their minds and wish for the operation to be reversed, which isn't always possible.

 

How reliable is it?

After being given the all clear, Male Sterilization is over 99% effective, the failure rate is 1 in 1000. It is obviously less effective if relied upon before supplying two successive clear sperm counts. It is very important to use additional contraception until this time.

 

How do I get sterilized?

Speak to your doctor, gynaecolocist or family planning clinic (Planned parenthood US) about sterilization. They will ask you some questions about why you think this is a relevant option. You will be referred for post operation counselling where they will discuss the implications of sterilization and answer any questions you may have and describe the operation proceedure. Male Sterilization is available free on the NHS (UK) but there can be a waiting list. Many Doctors provide this privately. If you decide you want to proceed, you will be sent an appointment to attend your local hospital or clinic for the operation.

 

 

FEMALE STERILIZATION

 

What is Female sterilization?

Female Sterilization is a permanent method of contraception and requires a small operation under local or general anaesthetic. You will usually have a Laparotomy, which is an incision 3-4 inches long in the abdomen, a Culdotomy, which means the surgeon will enter the abdomen through a small cut in the vagina or the most modern method, a Laparoscopy which involved inserting a small telescope type instrument into the abdomen through a small cut under or through the navel. Many surgeons also perform a D&C or 'scrape' which is where they clear out the contents of your womb to ensure there are no fertilized eggs already there.

It is very important to view this method as irreversible and only have it if you are absolutely sure you no longer wish to conceive children.

 

How does it work?

After the doctor/surgeon has made their cut, they then cut, seal or block the fallopian tubes used to carry the egg from the ovary into the womb. This will stop any eggs released from travelling down the fallopian tube to the womb. Once the fallopian tube is cut, there are several options to stop them rejoining. They can be tied at the ends, some surgeons ensure the ends are left in separate tissue area, giving the least possible chance of the tubes rejoining. They can be heat sealed but this method is going out of fashion because of the risk of burning other tissue or organs inside. Other methods which you don't have to cut the fallopian tube are the use of clips and a Falope ring.

 

What are the advantages?

  • It is a permanent method of contraception
  • It works immediately, unlike Male Sterilization which takes around 6 months
  • You won't have to think about contraception, except to protect you from STD's and HIV

 

What are the disadvantages and common side-effects?

  • The majority of women have this operation under general anaesthetic and may feel woozy or sick following the operation.
  • It requires a couple of days rest following the proceedure
  • It may involve an overnight stay, but this is becomming less so.
  • There may be some pain and/or discomfort for a couple of days after.
  • Sometimes the tubes can rejoin, but this is rare.
  • Some women change their minds and want the operation reversed, which isn't always possible
  • Some women find their periods heavier and more painful following sterilization

 

How reliable is it?

Female Sterilization is over 99% effective, the failure rate being 1 to 3 in 1000.

 

How do I get sterilized?

If you are absolutely certain this is the option for you, speak to your doctor, gynaecologist or family planning clinic (Planned parenthood U.S.) about sterilization. They will then ask you some questions to establish if this is the right method for you and you will receive an appointment to attend your local hospital or clinic to have the operation.

 

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS


Q. My husband had a vasectomy in July 1999. He his having pain on the right testicular side during sports and on erection. His physician put him on antibiotics and told him he has epidydimitis....a common problem after this surgery. My husband was told if the problem persists that an exploratory and removal of the epidydimas would be necessary. How common is this problem?
A. Epidydimitis occurs in about 1% of vasectomy patients. Anitbiotics usually deal with this problem very well. (JW)

 

Q. Is surgery necessary?
A. Only as a last resort, also an ultrasound should be performed as a next step to identify where exactly the problem lays. (JW)

 

Q. Is there an increase in prostate cancer associated with the removal of the tube???
A. Not at all, the risk of prostate cancer is not effected by this operation (IF needed)

 

Q. I was sterilised a couple of days ago,and im feeling that maybe i have done the wrong thing.i already have two children so its not as if i haven't got any but what i would like to know, is depression a big part of the after affects and what happens in five years time if i go back to the gp and ask to have it reversed,even though they say it is not reversable?
Also will my hormones be up the wall at the moment and will my feelings be mixed up as a
result of the sterilisation?

A. Depression is not uncommon right after sterilisation. Whether or not your sterilisation can be reversed is dependant on which method was used to sterilise you and the experience of the surgeon who attempts the reversal. It's not out of the question so think positively, but it must be said it is possible to reverse female sterilisation in the minority of cases. (JW)

 

Q. Is it true that your clamps can come apart after 10 years of sterilization. If so, how often should you get it checked out?
A. Yes it is possible for tubal clips to come loose and I always check my patients annually with a quick ultrasound exam. I would recommend this to you also if you have been sterilised with the 'clip' method. (JW)

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