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How effective is vasectomy?
Vasectomy is one of the most effective forms of birth control. In the first year after vasectomy, only 15 to 20 of every 10,000 couples will experience a pregnancy.1,2 In comparison, 1,400 of every 10,000 couples have a pregnancy each year using condoms, and 500 of every 10,000 couples experience a pregnancy each year using oral contraceptive pills.4
However, a vasectomy is not effective right away. You still need to use other birth control until the remaining sperm are cleared out of the semen. This takes 15 to 20 ejaculations, or about 3 months. Even then, 1 of every 5 men will still have sperm in his semen and will need to wait longer for the sperm to clear.2
Your health care provider will check your semen for sperm at least once after the surgery. Once the sperm count has dropped to zero, it is safe to assume your vasectomy is now an effective form of birth control.2,5 Until that time, you need to use another form of birth control to make sure your partner does not become pregnant.
What are the risks of vasectomy?
Although vasectomy is safe and highly effective, men should be aware of problems that could occur after surgery and over time.1
After surgery, most men have discomfort, bruising, and some swelling, all of which usually go away within 2 weeks. Problems that can occur after surgery and need to be checked by a health care provider include:
The risk of other problems is small, but they do occur. These include:
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