Before getting a vasectomy, you will have a consultation meeting with your doctor. During this consultation, your doctor will have the opportunity to take a look at your anatomy, ask about your medical history and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions. But what questions should you be asking during your visit? After consulting with urologist Dr. Howard Tay we came up with 20 questions to ask your doctor before getting a vasectomy.
1. How does a vasectomy work?
If you aren’t already aware of the basic anatomy behind a vasectomy, you should definitely ask your doctor about the ins and outs of how vasectomies work so you understand what is being done. Never agree to an operation before you know how it works.
2. Are vasectomies reversible?
Vasectomies can be but are often hard or at times, even impossible to reverse. This means that all to most vasectomies can be physically reversed but this does not guarantee success in conceiving a child post reversal. We recommend you ask your doctor about their experience with reversals and if they usually offer them.
3. What type of vasectomy do you specialize in?
There are two types of vasectomies that your doctor may offer. These are the traditional vasectomy and the no-scalpel vasectomy. If your doctor can do both, you may want to choose one over the other based on your medical history or body’s anatomy.
4. How experienced are you in doing vasectomies?
It may seem awkward to ask your doctor about their experience, but it is a very fair question to ask. How many vasectomies have they done before? Have they seen a high success rate? How recently were they trained or have they been doing these operations for years? This kind of question is not rude or disrespectful.
5. Will you be doing my entire operation?
Your doctor is required to tell you if someone else will be helping during your operation, but it is always a good idea to ask just in case. Sometimes, nurses or trainee medical staff may be there to do part of the procedure, and that may not be what you are expecting. Ask this question so you can evaluate what you feel comfortable with.
6. How effective are vasectomies?
Vasectomies are highly effective operations, but this is a great question to ask your doctor specifically. Failed vasectomies are not common, but actually usually are the fault of the patient, rather than the doctor.
7. What is your success rate?
To add to the previous question, you may want to ask about your doctor’s specific success rate, rather than the success rate of vasectomies in general. You’ll want to be sure that you trust the doctor who will be working on you.
8. Why might a vasectomy fail?
As previously mentioned, vasectomies usually “fail” because of the patient, not because of the doctor. Your doctor will explain why this might be (AKA the patient has sex before the vasectomy has had time to become effective).
9. When is it safe to have sex after the procedure?
While it is physically safe to have sex pretty soon after the operation (as specified by your doctor), the vasectomy may not be effective yet. Before having unprotected sex, your doctor will need to assist you in a semen analysis to see if it is effective.
10. What are the risks and side effects?
Vasectomies have some risks and side effects like all operations, but they are usually safe and not life-threatening. Your doctor can walk you through all of the common side effects and risks at your consultation.
11. What is Post-vasectomy Pain Syndrome? Will I be susceptible to it?
Post-vasectomy pain syndrome affects 1 or 2 men out of 100 vasectomy operations. It is not common, but even so, it is not deadly or very dangerous. Your doctor can take a look at your unique body and medical history to see your chances of this syndrome.
12. What symptoms should I look out for after my vasectomy to avoid infection?
Your doctor will have a list of symptoms that you should be on the lookout for, along with how to contact them in case of an emergency.
13. Are vasectomies safer or more effective than tubal ligations?
If you and your partner are considering a vasectomy or a tubal ligation, your doctor can help you understand the difference and the risks related to both. Most times, doctors will recommend vasectomies over tubal ligations, but this may change based on your unique story.
14. Will a vasectomy hurt or cause post-operative pain?
If you are worried about the pain that may occur after your operation, your doctor can help walk you through what you may expect, or can even prescribe pain medication.
15. How long will I take to recover?
Everybody is different, so no recovery can look exactly the same. Your doctor can help you figure out how long your recovery may be and if you will need to change your schedule due to it.
16. Will it affect my libido?
Contrary to the myths, vasectomies do not affect a man’s libido. If you ask your doctor this question, they will be able to help you understand why this is and why you don’t have anything to be afraid of.
17. Will my medical history pose a threat?
As we said, everyone is different. Because of this, your medical history may cause threats and may make a vasectomy a bad idea for you. Always fill your doctor in on your medical history so that they can take everything into account.
18. Does my career/daily labor pose a threat?
If you work a labor-intensive job or play a sport, you will want to discuss this with your doctor during your consultation. This discussion can lead your doctor to advise you on different recovery options after the operation.
19. Do I need my partner’s permission?
It may come as a surprise that some doctors may require a co-signature from your partner before performing your vasectomy. While some doctors may require this, others will not. A doctor can refuse to do surgery on you if it is not necessary to your health, so make sure the doctor you are choosing has views that align with your own.
20. Is a vasectomy the right option for me?
After discussing all of the other questions on this list, you and your doctor will have a good idea of if this procedure is a safe choice for you.