Vasectomy Frequently Asked Questions

What is a vasectomy? 

A vasectomy is a procedure cutting or removing a portion of the vas deferens (tubes that carry sperm) to permanently prevent pregnancy.  

Are vasectomies reversible?

Vasectomies are done as permanent procedures. Although reversals are possible, they are expensive, have higher risks than a vasectomy, and there is no guarantee the reversal will work. 

What is the recovery time after a vasectomy?

You should plan to stay home for two days to recover after a vasectomy. For one week following the vasectomy you should not lift over 15 lbs or do any hard exercise. 

What are vasectomy side effects?

The only side effect is sterility not being able to parent a child. The vasectomy will not change any of your sexual abilities. Your ability to have an erection, your ejaculation, and your sex drive will all remain the same. 

How effective is a vasectomy? 

Vasectomy is highly effective, but no contraception other than abstinence is 100% effective. Luckily, vasectomy is over 99% effective making it one of the most effective forms of contraception. 

When does the vasectomy start working?

It does not work right away. You will need to use another form of birth control until it is proven that the sperm are completely flushed out. You will turn in a “post-vasectomy semen analysis” after about 2 months to see if all the sperm have been flushed out. If there are still sperm in your sample, you will repeat the test monthly until there are no more sperm in the test. You cannot count on the vasectomy as birth control until you hear from your doctor that there are no more sperm in your sample.

How much does a vasectomy cost?

Your insurance might cover some or all of the cost of your vasectomy. If you do not have insurance you might qualify for a discount program.

Does insurance cover a vasectomy?

Medicaid and many private insurances cover vasectomy. Each insurance is different so it is important to contact your insurance company to find out what your coverage is.


Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Lasting pain in and around the testicles
  • Sperm granuloma—lumps caused by an immune system response to sperm leaking from the reproductive organs
  • Ability to still make a woman pregnant

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Excess drinking
  • Prior surgery in that area



This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.