Ok, girls. Here’s some man talk for you. Warning: don’t read if you’re skittish about male parts.
So let’s say you are done having children and want to know what is involved in your husband getting a vasectomy. It certainly isn’t the most talked about subject in the world, even compared to female anatomy.
Getting a vasectomy is actually pretty simple and, comparatively, not a big deal. Certainly not as big a deal as labor/delivery or getting your own tubes tied. However, it is a bigger deal than a routine gynecology visit, and you can’t forget that most men are not nearly as used to medical situations concerning their private parts as women are. So don’t be surprised for some squeamish talks and responses.
So here’s the deal:
A vasectomy is a small in-procedure operation that takes about 20 minutes in a urologist’s office. Many urologists have their own clinics so you don’t have to go to the hospital, and your husband can even drive himself home. The procedure includes washing and shaving the scrotum, local anesthetic, a small incision made in the upper scrotal area (under the penis/above the testicles), and the subsequent cutting and cauterizing (yes, burning) of the vas deferens tubes. It is uncomfortable and awkward but shouldn’t hurt… the nurse will gauge your husband’s reactions and the doctor will administer more local anesthetic willingly if necessary. Then your husband gets a couple dissolving stitches and some bandaging around the area, and is asked to wear snug briefs for a week while the wound heals. Usually a mild prescription painkiller is prescribed for a couple days, and you can expect your husband to limp around with an ice pack for a day or two. No shower for 24 hours so do it beforehand, but the bandage can come off on the second day for a shower. He is asked to mostly sit/lay down for 72 hours (no working, so do it near the weekend), and then it can take about 6-9 days to recover completely but at least he can walk around.
No intercourse for a week (don’t worry–he won’t ask anyway) and then a follow up visit to drop off a fresh semen sample after 15-20 ejaculations to make sure he’s infertile. He can just bring the sample to a lab and leave–no loitering required. After 5 weeks or 15 ejaculations, many men’s sperm count has dropped enough to be effectively infertile. Sometimes it takes a little longer. But most men don’t want to go anywhere near Mr. Snippies after the operation (nor do they want to do their special thing in a cup) and want to skip the lab test completely. That is completely understandable—I hate even peeing in a cup—but technically the doctors ask for two samples to be textbook sure. It’s fine to skip but just be warned that you should continue birth control until about two months if you’re afraid of getting pregnant. It’s annoying but then you’re infertile for the rest of your life, so you can handle waiting a little longer!
My husband said the worst part was the cauterizing. Not because it hurt but because you can’t stand to see smoke or smell burning coming from down there! He also said it made him feel a little faint when the doctor was getting to the exact right place to snip. But largely, while it wasn’t fun, he got through it. It probably ranks up there with root canals: you would never recommend the procedure for fun, but you can get through it when you need to.
As the wife who is probably stuck handling all the technical details, here’s what you need to know:
Find a urologist you want to use, and one that’s in your network if you have an HMO. Call them up and schedule a consultation for your husband. The consultation is a brief visit where the urologist checks your husband’s parts out and explains the process entailed.
Call your PCP and tell them the urologist you want to use/time of consultation visit. They’ll need to submit a referral to your insurance if you have an HMO. Most PCPs do not require an actual visit because that’s what the consultation is for.
Your husband goes to the consultation with the urologist. It doesn’t last long but they do examine the private parts to make sure they are ok. This means your husband has to undress from the waist down and wear a sheet, like you do when you go to the gynecologist. Then the urologist will give your husband the ok and tell them all about the vasectomy process. Usually there are some reminder/info worksheets to take home, and your husband should schedule the vasectomy before he leaves if you want the soonest appointment possible. Pay your normal co-pay for doctor visits.
Your husband has the vasectomy. It should cost your normal co-pay too. Insurance should handle the rest!
He’ll be bruised up and worried about his parts probably, but don’t worry. It will heal and life will go along normally after a week or two. He shouldn’t have real pain. It might look ugly for awhile though. Once everything heals, you can go back to sex life whenever he’s ready. He might be tender the first two times, but not as bad as you recovering from labor/delivery. After that, things go back to normal. VASECTOMIES DO NOT IMPAIR SEXUAL FUNCTION. It should not change one thing about his performance or feel. The only difference is that his little swimmies are no longer there to begin life again. There may be some grieving on one or both of your parts about this, or feelings of loss of masculinity/femininity, so be prepared to work through this if so. But as long as you consider this carefully before you get the procedure done, you should be up and raring to go, like your normal selves in about two weeks.