Male Sterilization

Male sterilization, or vasectomy, is one of the few contraceptive methods available to men and can be performed in an outpatient procedure or office setting. Fewer than 1 woman out of 100 becomes pregnant in the first year after her male partner undergoes sterilization (14). Because male sterilization is intended to be irreversible, all men should be appropriately counseled about the permanency of sterilization and the availability of highly effective, long-acting, reversible methods of contraception for women. Male sterilization does not protect against STDs; consistent and correct use of male latex condoms reduces the risk for STDs, including HIV.

When Vasectomy Is Reliable for Contraception
  • A semen analysis should be performed 8–16 weeks after a vasectomy to ensure the procedure was successful.
  • The man should be advised that he should use additional contraceptive protection or abstain from sexual intercourse until he has confirmation of vasectomy success by postvasectomy semen analysis.

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Other Postprocedure Recommendations
  • The man should refrain from ejaculation for approximately 1 week after the vasectomy to allow for healing of surgical sites and, after certain methods of vasectomy, occlusion of the vas.

Comments and Evidence Summary. The Vasectomy Guideline Panel of the American Urological Association performed a systematic review of key issues concerning the practice of vasectomy (317). All English-language publications on vasectomy published during 1949–2011 were reviewed. For more information, see the American Urological Association Vasectomy Guidelines (http://www.auanet.org/guidelines/vasectomy-(2012-amended-2015)external icon).

Motile sperm disappear within a few weeks after vasectomy (318–321). The time to azoospermia varies widely in different studies; however, by 12 weeks after the vasectomy, 80% of men have azoospermia, and almost all others have rare nonmotile sperm (defined as ≤100,000 nonmotile sperm per milliliter) (317). The number of ejaculations after vasectomy is not a reliable indicator of when azoospermia or rare nonmotile sperm will be achieved (317). Once azoospermia or rare nonmotile sperm has been achieved, patients can rely on the vasectomy for contraception, although not with 100% certainty. The risk for pregnancy after a man has achieved postvasectomy azoospermia is approximately one in 2,000 (322–326).

A median of 78% (range 33%–100%) of men return for a single postvasectomy semen analysis (317). In the largest cohorts that appear typical of North American vasectomy practice, approximately two thirds of men (55%–71%) return for at least one postvasectomy semen analysis (322,327331). Assigning men an appointment after their vasectomy might improve compliance with follow-up (332).

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