November 18th is the fourth annual World Vasectomy Day, dedicated to broadening the conversation about family planning and raising awareness of procedure-based birth control. It’s also a day when many men and trans women can get free counseling on birth control and discounted procedures. A vasectomy is a surgical form of contraception that involves cutting or blocking tubes that transports sperm from the testicles to the penis.
There are two types of vasectomies. No-scalpel vasectomy uses special small tools to reach the vas tubes by making one small opening in the scrotum without cutting. The “classic” vasectomy makes two larger openings on the scrotum and sometimes needs stitches. The chance of complications (infection and bleeding) is less with the “no-scalpel” technique. The no-scalpel vasectomy is as effective as classic vasectomy for birth control. No needle and no-scalpel vasectomy techniques are the most advanced medical methods available.
Birth control, even in 2016, can still be a taboo subject. A vasectomy takes 10-15 minutes, is extremely safe with a shorter recovery period, and more cost efficient than other methods. Even with all of these attributes, it is still sought after at a much lower rate than permanent sterilization for people with fallopian tubes.
Our cultural upbringing can instill a fear of vasectomies. Myths and stigmas commonly associated with vasectomy include a decrease in one’s masculinity, feeling incomplete, or impairing sexual function. De-stigmatizing vasectomies is necessary for conversations to be inclusive of race, all genders, and socio-economic status when considering birth control methods and healthier sex lifestyles.
For more information, check out our free patient education fact sheet available on our website.