Vasectomy

Quick Facts

Most effective

Does not protect from STDs

Hormone-free

Male sterilization

Permanent

a loosely tied knot in a rope

More About Vasectomy

  • Vasectomy, also known as male sterilization, is a simple surgery.
  • A vasectomy blocks or cuts the tubes in your scrotum that carry sperm. This way, sperm stays in the testicles and can’t cause a pregnancy.
  • Vasectomy is meant to be a permanent form of birth control.
  • You can’t count on being able to reverse it once you have it. 
  • Therefore, before you get a vasectomy, you need to be 100% sure that you don’t ever want to get someone pregnant.

How It Works

  • A vasectomy takes about 20 minutes. You can go home the same day.
  • After a shot of local anesthetic, the provider blocks or cuts the tubes that carry sperm. There are two types of vasectomy. One way is when the doctor makes one or two small cuts in the skin of the scrotum to access the tubes or the no scalpel method where the doctor makes a tiny hole on the skin of the scrotum to reach the tubes. Your Family PACT provider can talk to you about which method is right for you.
  • About 3 months after the procedure, there is a test to make sure no sperm is in the semen
  • This method is a form of sterilization. Because of this, there is a 30-day waiting period before it is done so that clients have time to be sure this is the right choice for them.
An inside view of the penis showing a cut and tied vas deferens
Donut chart showing 99%. The title says "Over 99% effective"

Effectiveness

Vasectomy is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. This means that less than 1 out of 100 women whose partner has a vasectomy will get pregnant in a year. Vasectomy is one of the most effective forms of birth control.

A vasectomy takes about 3 months to become fully effective. Therefore, another form of birth control method is recommended to be used during this time to ensure protection from pregnancy. At 3 months your provider will test to make sure that your semen has no sperm in it. Be sure to use condoms or other birth control to prevent pregnancy until your test. After the test has shown that there is no semen in the sperm, you don’t have to do anything else.

Benefits

  • Doesn’t interrupt the heat of the moment.
  • Doesn’t change how an orgasm feels. Semen (cum) will look, feel and taste the same
    – there’s just no sperm in it.
  • It doesn’t change the body’s hormones.
  • You can go home the same day you get it.
  • Most men go back to normal activity in 2 to 3 days.
  • You don’t need any other kind of birth control after the 3 month test. You’re all set!
Nine hands each holding a thumbs up
A young woman holds up her hands as if weighing options and looks thoughtful

Side Effects and Limitations

  • It’s permanent!  It’s meant for men who do not ever want to get someone pregnant.
  • You may have some pain, bruising, or swelling in the first day or two, but it shouldn’t be too bad. You can ice the area, take over-the-counter pain medicine, and wear snug briefs to help with the pain.
  • You should not work out or do any hard physical work for the first week.
  • There are minor risks such as bleeding, as with any surgery. Infection is a less common risk.
  • Doesn’t protect you from STDs.

Family PACT Coverage

If you are eligible, Family PACT covers the cost of a vasectomy.  However, Family PACT does not cover the cost of reversing the procedure.  A provider can help you decide if a vasectomy is the best choice for you. You can search for a Family PACT provider near you by clicking on the “Provider Search” button in the right hand corner of this page.

California Department of Health Care Services Family PACT logo