Vasectomy and condoms are the only current options for male contraception. The most popular form of long-acting male contraception is a vasectomy. Unfortunately, vasectomies are not considered truly reversible. Reversal of a vasectomy is often expensive, and requires a long surgery by a specialized provider.
Even if a vasectomy is successfully reversed, pregnancy rates after reversal will range from about 30% to over 90%, depending on the type of procedure. (Please note: many factors affect whether a reversal is successful in achieving pregnancy, including time since a vasectomy, partner age, surgeon experience and training, and whether the individual had fertility issues before getting a vasectomy.)
Researchers are currently working on vas-occlusion devices that will be truly reversible in the future. Additionally, other male contraceptive options are working their way down the pipeline.
In the meantime, here are 10 facts about the most reliable form of male birth control existing today:
10. Vasectomies are generally very safe, and complications are rare.
9. Men who get a vasectomy say that they feel more free when having sex with their partner because they don’t have to worry about an unplanned pregnancy.
8. Getting a vasectomy is a simple outpatient procedure.
7. Approximately half a million men get the procedure each year in the U.S. – They are even more popular in the time around March Madness, where men can recover while watching the NCAA basketball tournament.
6. Vasectomy does not affect semen production. Instead, it prevents sperm from being transported to mix with other seminal fluids. Men who have vasectomies still experience normal orgasms!
5. It’s possible to reverse a vasectomy if a man changes his mind later and decides to have children. However, reversal success rates can vary between 40-90%. Researchers are working on vas-occlusive devices, which act like a vasectomy, but are intended to be truly reversible. Ultimately, only up to around 6% of men request a reversal.
4. Vasectomies do not affect a man’s sexual function, sex drive or sex life, and men are speaking out about their experiences to destigmatize the procedure.
3. The procedure and recovery is usually painless, and men generally experience minimal, if any, side effects.
2. Vasectomies are ~99% effective at preventing unplanned pregnancies.
1. Every year, men and women globally celebrate World Vasectomy Day.
Male Contraceptive Initiative is making new options for men. While currently men have limited options for contraception, Male Contraceptive Initiative provides advocacy and funding support for research into non-hormonal, long-acting reversible male options. Ultimately, we’re after a menu of options that meet the needs of all people and help us achieve our vision of “Reproductive Autonomy for All”. Join us in helping to make that a reality and get involved today!
(This post was updated on September 21, 2022)
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