Vasectomy Compared to Other Family Planning Methods

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.

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.

Strong men are not afraid of vasectomyAt 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.


VasectomyTubal LigationBC PillsCondoms
Procedurein-office in hospitalpharmacystores
Recovery Time2-3 days7 daysN/AN/A
 Side EffectsSwelling
Abdominal discomfort
Slight risk of infection
bleeding, mortality 4 per 100,000
Irregular periods
stroke, blood clots.
Skin allergy
Perfect Use*n/an/a 99.7% 98%
Typical Use*n/an/a 92% 85%
 100% EffectiveYESNoNoNo

*Percentage of effectiveness in preventing pregnancy

Vasectomy FAQ

Q. Will I still want to have to sex?
A.  There’s no change in sexual performance or desire. Vasectomy doesn’t affect testosterone either. Most men who’ve had them report increased sexual satisfaction for themselves and their partners.

Q. Is the procedure permanent?
A.  Vasectomies can  sometimes be reversed but we don’t encourage that thinking. You should consider this permanent.

Q. What if we change our minds and want to have more kids?
A.  If you are not sure that your family is right-sized, you should probably wait until you are certain.  Both you and your partner should be on the same page.  There are also options to store or freeze sperm for later use. Please don’t hesitate to ask.

Q. Will my penis or testicles look different afterwards?
A.  Not at all.  The single puncture we use is so small it doesn’t even require stitches. We seal it with a little skin glue.

Q. How soon can I have sex?
A.  We recommend one week.  Also be aware that there is still sperm in your system. You will need to use birth control until it your lab tests come back negative at 90 days post procedure.

Q. My wife is willing to have her tubes tied, so why shouldn’t she?
A.  It’s not that she shouldn’t – that’s up to your family. Perhaps the question to ask is why would she need to go through major surgery? Especially when a vasectomy serves the same purpose without hospitalization or general anesthesia. Also with vasectomy, you can always test your semen to ensure sterility. Not so with tubal ligation you never really know if its still working. There is also a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy should tubal ligation fail and she get pregnant – a high cause of female mortality and morbidity.

Q. Is vasectomy affordable?
A.  Yes. It is a one-time expenditure. No more paying for pills, shots, condoms, spermicide or sponges. Not to mention the cost of an unplanned pregnancy.


By |2018-04-06T12:23:13-07:00June 16th, 2017|Vasectomy|Comments Off on Vasectomy Compared to Other Family Planning Methods

About the Author:

Jack Chang, MD, is a graduate of Yale University and the University of British Columbia Medical School. After completing his postgraduate training in Prince George, BC, he started his career serving rural and remote communities in BC, Yukon, and Nunavut before joining Pollock Clinics in 2014. Dr. Chang is a veteran of multiple No-Scalpel Vasectomy International (NSVI) medical missions, providing free vasectomies in developing countries such as Haiti, Kenya, and the Philippines to alleviate poverty through family planning. Dr. Chang also trains international physicians from around the world as part of the NSVI missions. He performs circumcisions using both the Pollock Technique™ and the Shang Ring technique. Dr Chang trained in China with the developers of the Shang Ring method and directed the licensing of the Shang Ring through Health Canada and performed the first case of Shang Ring circumcision in Canada. He continues to lead the introduction of this adult circumcision method in North America. He is a Clinical Instructor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine and is actively involved in teaching medical students and residents.