Part of the reason why men (and now we know some women too) show dislike for vasectomy is because of the cloud of doubt hanging over the procedure. Here are answers, provided by Dr. Elly Odongo of KOGS (Kenya Obstetrics and Gynecology Society) and Dr. Kai Haldre, a reproductive medicine specialist from Estonia, to pertinent questions brought up by men and women concerning vasectomy.
1.Will a man be able to ejaculate after vasectomy?
Odongo: Yes. Vasectomy is the cutting and tying of the vas deferens, which is the channel sperms course through to mix with semen. Semen is produced by seminal vesicles and the prostate gland. Therefore vasectomy only blocks sperm cells from making it to the point where they mix with the semen. Ejaculation is not affected neither does the volume of the ejaculate change.
2.What happens to the sperms that have been blocked from passing through?
Odongo: The body has its own mechanism for dealing with sperms which have not made its past the vas deferens. It is the same as what the female body does with an egg that has not been fertilized. The sperms won’t pile up to form anything. There is no risk posed by sperms which have been blocked. No scientific evidence suggests such.
3.Does vasectomy lower a man’s drive for sex?
Odongo: There are men who may present with post vasectomy pain syndrome, where they feel less sexually responsive. However, this has everything to do with the psychological state of mid- when he feels less of a man after vasectomy- and nothing to do with the procedure itself. He should be able to have the same sex drive as usual.
4.How invasive and dangerous is vasectomy?
Odongo: Vasectomy is less invasive compared to tubal ligation. On average, it would take between 5 to 10 minutes to perform a vasectomy. Tubal ligation takes much more time. Dangers of vasectomy include temporary bruising and the possibility of haematoma (blood clot), both of which clear out quite easily.
5.Why aren’t there as many contraceptive methods for men as for women?
Haldre: I believe that men are less responsive to research. There are more women willing for something to be tried out on them than men. It is however possible to come up with hormonal methods that men can cause for family planning. It would be more difficult because men don’t have cycles like women do.
Odongo: First, women should know: the fact that there are less contraception methods for men is not a conspiracy against the female gender. Science makes it easier to prevent pregnancy in a woman because a woman has a monthly cycle. We have studied that cycle and know that we can interrupt it at any point to prevent pregnancy. Men however don’t have a cycle: men produce sperms continuously- it never stops. Also, men don’t have cavities in their reproductive system (like the womb in women) where we can put an IUD to prevent pregnancy.
6.Is vasectomy reversible?
Odongo: Chances of successfully reversing vasectomy are very low.
7.Is it safer for men to take up contraception compared to women?
Odongo: We have to adopt effective approaches to reproductive health. The decision on family planning is one to be done by both husband and wife. But it should be known that women are the ones who carry the child. Family planning cannot be left to men alone. And if the data we have is anything to go by, very few men are bothered to even accompany their wives to family planning clinics. In this regard, we cannot be blind to the part played by women.