So you decided it’s time to shut down the baby-making operation and get a vasectomy. Or maybe your wife banished you to the couch until you agreed to get snipped. It doesn’t matter how you came to the decision, what matters is you’re ready to move forward.
You may have some fears and concerns about the procedure—no guy is comfortable when “surgical procedure” and “male genitalia” are in the same sentence. But don’t worry. Vasectomies are common, safe and the most effective form of birth control.
Though it’s a simple procedure, you can’t just show up at your doctor’s office to get snipped. Here are checklists for you to prepare for a vasectomy and recover from it.
- Choose a Doctor
You don’t want just anybody cutting open your scrotum. Make sure you do your research for choosing an urologist. At a minimum, he/she should be board certified and specialize in urologic surgery, have experience performing vasectomies, and accept your insurance.
You should ask for referrals from someone else who’s gotten snipped (chances are you know someone) or ask your primary care physician for a referral. Also, take time to talk with the urologist you choose to make sure you’re comfortable with him or her.
- Choose the Type of Vasectomy
We know what you’re thinking: there are different types of vasectomies? Yes. There are actually two primary types of vasectomies: conventional and no-scalpel.
In a conventional vasectomy, the doctor uses a scalpel to make incisions in your scrotum to reach the vas deferens. Though the incisions are small, they require sutures to close. Complication risks are higher with conventional vasectomies.
No-scalpel vasectomies are more common these days and less invasive. In this method, the doctor uses a special instrument to make a small puncture in the scrotum and gently stretches the skin to create an opening to reach the vas deferens.
- Have Your Wife Sign a Consent Form
Your testicles, your decision, right? Not exactly. Some physicians may require your wife to sign a consent form before performing the surgery. Though it’s not legally required, it’s a common practice.
Hopefully, you’ve already discussed the decision with your partner, and she’ll probably be eager to sign the form.
- Do Some Manscaping
Pubic hair can hinder the urologist in performing the procedure, so before you head in for the appointment, you should shave the man zone. It goes without saying you should be careful. And it’s best to do it a few days before the surgery to allow any nicks or irritation to heal.
Of course, if you’re man enough, you can go the waxing route. Either way, it needs to be done, or if you don’t take care of it, your doctor will before the procedure.
- Ice and Elevate
The initial recovery phase after the procedure is about 2-3 days. During that time, you need to stay seated as much as possible and elevate your feet. You should also ice your scrotum. Essentially, you should be a couch potato—doctor’s orders!
You may experience some mild pain, so you can take pain medication as your doctor directs.
- Get Back on Your Feet
After the first few days, the couch potato party is over. You can return to work but take it easy. Refrain from vigorous activity and heavy lifting for a week or two. You’ll have to skip the gym or your regular exercise routine until the third or fourth week after your surgery.
And no sex for at least two weeks after the procedure. Your private parts need to heal before they can engage in intercourse.
- Proceed with Sex (Cautiously)
The good news is you can restart your sex life after those first couple of weeks. But, you’ll need to do it with caution…that is if you don’t want a surprise, post-vasectomy pregnancy.
Sperm can live in your vas deferens for months after a vasectomy, so you’ll need to use another form of birth control for a few months.
- Test Your Sperm Count
When can you finally ditch the birth control? After you get the all clear. You’ll need about 20-30 ejaculations before all the sperm clears your system. But the only way you’ll know for sure is checking your sperm count.
About three months after the procedure, you’ll either have to return to the urologist for a sperm test, or you can do it yourself at home with SpermCheck, an over-the-counter test that checks your sterility. If the tests says you’re sterile, you’re home free.
There you have it—pre- and post-vasectomy instructions to get you ready for the procedure. The more you’re prepared, the easier it will be for you and your partner. So go ahead, select a doctor, and keep these checklists handy throughout your journey to sterility.