Vasectomy Compared to Other Family Planning Methods

It’s rare these days to find a family that doesn’t use some type of contraception.  From pills to condoms, shots, sponges or IUDs, couples make decisions about the number of children they want to have. Family planning is the norm.

As of 2011,  1,773, 000 Canadian men and women chose surgical options to permanently remove the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.  The majority – 68% of them – were men who chose to have a vasectomy.  Vasectomy is one of the safest and most cost-effective methods of birth control available. In terms of surgical options – it is significantly less complex and invasive than procedures available for women.

Looking at Birth Control

The effectiveness of birth control methods is measured by two numbers: 1) perfect use and 2) typical use.  Perfect use takes the human component out of the equation. Typical use puts people back in.  For example,  the perfect use number for birth control pills puts them at  99.7% effective rate in preventing pregnancy.  The typical use number is only 92%. That’s because women sometimes miss a pill or forget to take them at the same time every day.

It’s estimated over one million unplanned pregnancies a year result from typical use of oral contraceptives.  If you know your current family is exactly the right size, why would you take that risk?

Contraception methods vary greatly. But there is one consistent factor in their design: the intended users are women.

The only real offering designed for men to practice contraception is the condom.  The numbers on that? With perfect use, it’s 98% effective in preventing pregnancy. Typical use, 85% effective.

This for a product that most men, and a large number of women, say is detrimental to intimate and pleasurable intercourse. According to Men’s Health, 1 in 4 men lose their erection while putting one on, but the only other option for men who want to avoid impregnating their partner is withdrawal prior to ejaculation.

The withdrawal method is like Russian roulette.  One in every four ejaculations during intercourse risks an unwanted pregnancy.

Not only is premature withdrawal an extreme deterrent for men’s pleasure in intercourse, it’s extremely unrealistic in preventing an unwanted pregnancy.  Based on typical use numbers, it’s only 73% effective.

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Permanent Birth Control

Imagine the improvement in your sex life if you no longer needed to worry about birth control?  No fumbling in the nightstand drawer to find a condom.  No last minute insertion of a diaphragm.

Vasectomy is the simplest way for men take control of their sexual experience, in terms of pleasure, performance and outcome. No wondering if your wife took her pill.  No more worrying about broken condoms. Vasectomy is permanent birth control that puts men back in the driver’s seat by eliminating the possibility of a pregnancy.

What a relief that would be! And not just for men, but for their partners as well.

At the Pollock Clinic, we perform about 3000 no-scalpel vasectomies every year.  Over and over, we hear our patients tell us that their sex lives have improved – more spontaneity, more frequency and more intimacy.  Any secret worries they had about desire or performance were totally unfounded.

The less obvious benefit from vasectomy is sparing your spouse or partner from undergoing the equivalent surgery for women. Tubal ligation is considered major surgery and requires hospitalization. Should your partner get pregnant there is also a risk of ectopic pregnancies which is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in woman. The table below compares some common birth control options to help you and your family decide on how to move forward.

Vasectomy Tubal Ligation BC Pills Condoms
Procedure in-office  in hospital pharmacy stores
Recovery Time 2-3 days 7 days N/A N/A
 Side Effects Swelling Abdominal discomfort Slight risk of infection bleeding, mortality 4 per 100,000 Irregular periods stroke, blood clots. Skin allergy
Perfect Use* n/a n/a  99.7%  98%
Typical Use* n/a n/a  92%  85%
 100% Effective YES No No No
Cost One-time One-time On-going On-going