Approximately 500,000 to 600,000 vasectomy procedures are performed annually in the America. Now sources such as the Cleveland Clinic and The New York Times report that the recession has sparked an increase in the number of vasectomies. The decision to have a vasectomy procedure shouldn't be taken lightly, even though vasectomy reversals are possible.

So, how do you determine if a vasectomy procedure is the right birth control choice for you? Here's what you need to know:

What Is a Vasectomy Procedure?

During a vasectomy procedure, a doctor cuts the vas deferens—the tubes that carry sperm from your scrotum to the urethra, which is the tube through which sperm and urine travel.

The vasectomy procedure is usually done in a doctor's office under local anesthetic. The doctor will either make an incision to do the procedure, or will perform a vasectomy without an incision, which is called a no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV). You should be able to return to work within 24 to 72 hours.

After a successful vasectomy procedure sperm can no longer move out of the testes, which prevents you from getting your partner pregnant.

What Are Vasectomy Side Effects?

According to, an authoritative online resource, a vasectomy procedure is a low-risk surgery. In rare cases, some men can suffer any of the following vasectomy side effects:

  • Allergic reaction to anesthetic.
  • Antibodies that form around the sperm that are no longer released through ejaculation.
  • Chronic orchialagia or congestion, a pain in the testes caused by inflammation, dead sperm and fluid.
  • A hematoma or bleeding within the scrotum.
  • Infections if blood connects under the skin after the vasectomy.
  • Postoperative pain.
  • Sexual problems, usually resolved through counselling.
  • Sperm granulomas, or lumps that form due to sperm leakage.

Most of these vasectomy side effects resolve within a few days or weeks after the surgery. Also, there's no evidence that a vasectomy procedure can increase your risk of prostate cancer, or lower your sex drive.

However, during the months after a vasectomy procedure, semen can still be in your sperm and you'll still run the risk of getting your partner pregnant. Your semen should be tested to ensure that it doesn't contain sperm before you give up other forms of contraception. In rare cases, spontaneous recanalization occurs and the vas deferens grows back, which will make you fertile again.

Who Are the Best Candidates for a Vasectomy Procedure?

Even though vasectomy reversals are possible, this surgery isn't for everyone. This may be the best choice of birth control if...

  • both you and your partner are absolutely certain you don't want to have children (or more children)
  • you don't want to (or cannot) use any other form of birth control
  • you're concerned about passing on genetic disorders to any children you'd have
  • are in a relationship where you and/or your partner have genetic disorders and want to avoid the risk of passing them onto future children.

Who Shouldn't Undergo a Vasectomy Procedure?

You should consider other birth control options if...

  • you're single, divorced or widowed
  • you or your partner are undecided about having children in the future
  • you (or your partner) are under age 25
  • your relationship is unstable or on again-off again
  • you're having the surgery to please your partner
  • you're basing the decision on financial reasons, which could change
  • planning to store sperm to father children later on
  • you're reluctant, or have a partner who's reluctant, to use other forms of birth control while engaging in sexual activity

Also, remember that a vasectomy procedure does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. If you are seriously considering it, speak with your partner and consult a physician who specializes in the surgery to get as much information as possible - including preparation and post-op care.