Perhaps you are finished having children. Or you just know you don’t want children in the future and want to make sure no unplanned pregnancies happen. If this is the case, you might be looking for permanent methods of male birth control.

Could a vasectomy be the answer? For many couples the answer is “yes.” The vasectomy became a common male birth control procedure in the 1970’s and has provided men and families a safe, effective, minimally-invasive form of birth control with a fast recovery period. The procedure involves cutting two tubes called the vas deferens – the pathways that sperm travel through. The cut ends are then tied or sealed together with heat, blocking the path of sperm.

Vasectomies are usually considered a permanent method of male birth control. A vasectomy reversal is an option if a man changes his mind. Nowadays viable sperm can also be surgically retrieved for use with IVF (in vitro fertilization) procedures, even years after a vasectomy.

Are there alternatives to a vasectomy for male birth control? Yes there are.

Condoms – Male condoms can be an effective form of birth control as long as you use them the right way. Condoms can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), too – again, when used correctly. Many men unknowingly use condoms incorrectly, often because they learned how to use a condom informally or casually when they were younger and perhaps sexually inexperienced.

Female contraception – Your female partner has temporary contraceptive options, too. Female condoms, hormonal contraceptives, birth control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and diaphragms are all possibilities for temporary birth control. Her healthcare professional can help her choose which methods are best for her.

Withdrawal method – Some men wonder whether withdrawal (“pulling out” before ejaculation) is a viable contraceptive method. This approach is not considered reliable, as sperm cells can be present in pre-ejaculate (precum) and find their way into the vagina before the man withdraws his penis. The method also requires determination and perfect timing on the part of the man, which can be hard to control in the midst of intercourse. One more point to consider – withdrawal alone provides no protection against STIs.

To find out more, book in for a consultation with one of our vasectomy specialists.