As you consider birth control and contraception options, a permanent alternative to keep in mind is a vasectomy. A vasectomy is an outpatient procedure that serves as a permanent form of birth control, preventing men from fathering more children.

The procedure

In a vasectomy, the tubes that carry the sperm from the testicles to the penis (these are called vas deferens) are cut and sealed, making it so that sperm are no longer able to exit the body through semen. A vasectomy prevents conception without changing other sex traits. Following a vasectomy, most men are still able to have an erection, ejaculate, and maintain normal levels of testosterone.

There are two types of vasectomy procedures, including:

  • Conventional vasectomy. This type of vasectomy reaches the vas deferens through small incisions on each side of the scrotum.
  • Non-surgical vasectomy. This type of vasectomy reaches the vas deferens through a small puncture in the skin, and heals more quickly with little or no scarring as there is no bleeding or stitches.


A vasectomy is very safe and most men are able to return to work and normal activity after a few days. However, as with any medical procedure, there are some risks. You may experience some pain, bleeding, swelling, or bruising following surgery. Infection or inflammation may also occur, and you may have trouble passing urine. If these symptoms become severe, call your doctor.

It is also important to use a backup form of birth control for a few months following a vasectomy as some sperm may linger post-surgery.

Things to consider

A vasectomy is a great option for those who do not wish to father any more children. The procedure can also be a good option if pregnancy for a partner might pose a dangerous health risk. 

On the other hand, if you are unsure about having more children, another birth control option may be a better fit. There are many birth control options to consider. Factors to weigh when considering birth options, include:

  • Cost
  • Effectiveness
  • Safety
  • Religious belief

To make the best contraceptive choice, enlist the help of a healthcare provider to help you weigh your options as you decide what is best for your family.

© 2018 Intermountain Healthcare. All rights reserved. The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.