Amid this wealth of misinformation, some people may wonder what is true about a vasectomy. The Washington Post spoke to doctors about vasectomy and what to believe:
1. You should treat a vasectomy as a permanent procedure.
Despite the common misconception on social media that a vasectomy is easily reversible, urologists recommend that patients should have a vasectomy as a permanent procedure.
“While they are reversible, they are not necessarily effective,” says Esgar Guarín, an Iowa doctor who specializes in vasectomy. “That’s why we insist that a vasectomy is a permanent contraceptive decision. It’s not like we turn it on and off.”
Misinformation has included viral tweets and Instagram posts alleging that vasectomy is easily reversible, as well as meme from the popular TV show “The Office” in which the character Michael Scott, played by actor Steve Carell, says he has had a vasectomy three times.
“It’s a very famous joke – ‘snap-snap, snap-snap,'” said Yotam Ophir, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Buffalo who specializes in health misinformation. ‘. He said: “Misinformation about a vasectomy is common, but again, it’s not the same as abortion misinformation because you still need to see a doctor for a vasectomy. Ophir added that unlike an abortion, there’s no danger in doing a vasectomy by someone without professional training.
Guarín acknowledges that a vasectomy is often easier than a reversal of a tubal ligation – a procedure to close a person’s fallopian tubes – but said “that doesn’t mean it has to be”. easily”.
Vasectomy experts say the success rate of a reversal depends on a variety of factors, including how long a person has had the procedure and your partner’s fertility.
“The likelihood of a successful reversal in someone who has had a vasectomy for 25 years is much lower than the likelihood of a successful reversal in someone who has had a vasectomy,” says Doug Stein, a urologist in Florida. three years.
John Curington, Stein’s associate, says the reversal also takes longer than a vasectomy and is more expensive. Finally, this procedure is not a precaution for people who are not ready to have children but may want to have children in the future.
“If you’re thinking about this, you can reverse a vasectomy,” says Meera Shah, family medicine physician and medical director at Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, a fertility service organization. , then you are not a candidate for a vasectomy. health care at several medical centers in New York.
2. A vasectomy will not reduce sexual activity.
Some doctors report that a Common interest among patients fear that a vasectomy will negatively impact sexual function.
“I think that myth is just based on a misunderstanding of anatomy,” says Curington. “A vasectomy is just a small procedure that cuts off the tubes that carry sperm, but semen is made in the prostate and seminal vesicles, about 2 inches north of where we had the procedure. So there’s basically no way that a vasectomy can actually cause a change in sexual activity.”
Philip Werthman, a fertility doctor in California, emphasizes that contrary to myths, a person’s sex drive is also unlikely to be negatively affected by a vasectomy.
3. After a vasectomy, you should still use a condom or other method of birth control until your doctor tells you to.
Some vasectomy patients believe that after the procedure, they can immediately stop using other methods of contraception.
“Men are assuming that right after a vasectomy, they’re sterile,” says Marc Goldstein, director of the Center for Men’s Reproductive Medicine and Microsurgery at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.
Goldstein emphasizes that it usually takes about six weeks to make sure sperm is not alive in the vas deferens, which should be documented with a sperm test. But the process of making sure the sperm is washed can take up to three months for some patients, Werthman says.
“Using birth control during that period is very important,” he said.
4. Recent studies cannot confirm a consistent link between vasectomy and prostate cancer.
One 1993 study suggest that there is an association between vasectomy and an increased risk of prostate cancer. But since then, Stein emphasized, there have been learn many times published with no consistent results on an association between the procedure and cancer.
“There is no consistent evidence that vasectomy and prostate cancer are related,” he said.
5. Most people who have had a vasectomy can still get pregnant.
When a draft Supreme Court position on Dobbs sues Jackson Women’s Health Organization leaked in May, Ashley Winter took to Twitter to debunk common myths about vasectomy. Winter, a urologist in Oregon, notes that while it’s not easy to recover from vasectomy, most people who have had a vasectomy can still get pregnant.
A vasectomy is considered a permanent form of contraception. Although a vasectomy reversal can be performed (called a vasectomy or “VV”), it is often expensive and not always effective. Also, the number of surgeons performing this surgery is VERY LIMITED.
– Ashley Winter MD || Urologist (@AshleyGWinter) May 9, 2022
Patients can freeze their sperm for use in procedures including intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). But there is concern that the IVF procedure can become more complicated and expensive after Dobbs decision.
“I always recommend that they freeze sperm before a vasectomy and freeze at least two or three specimens and split into two or three different sperm banks,” says Goldstein.
A vasectomy is another option, says Shah, although the effectiveness of the procedure varies and not all vasectomy surgeons are skilled at the reversal. Shah said. Stein agrees: “Until a vasectomy reversal is 100% successful, we cannot call vasectomy reversal procedures in the same way we might call other contraceptive options. reverse”.
As vasectomy myths continue to circulate on the internet, Ophir, an expert on health misinformation, encourages prospective vasectomy patients to consult a medical professional. economic.
“You won’t get the best information from Reddit as well as on Twitter,” he said. “People should talk to their doctors and read the official websites of public health organizations.”