Thursday 17 January 2019

Having a vasectomy is cheaper than using the pill or condoms for one year - Irish GP

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Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Having a vasectomy is cheaper than using other forms of contraception like the pill or condoms for one year, according to an Irish GP.

More than one in four Irish men (28 per cent) are considering getting a vasectomy, while eight per cent of Irish men already have, according to new research.

Dr Philip Kieran, from RTE’s ‘You Should Really See A Doctor’ says vasectomies are a permanent option that takes up to 30 minutes.

However, there are some widely feared myths that prevent Irish men from undergoing vasectomies, including the fact that a man will have a reduced libido after the procedure.

“It’s not surprising that most Irish men (67 per cent) fear getting a vasectomy and I believe that’s because there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about what the procedure entails,” Dr Kieran said.

“Vasectomies simply involve sealing the tubes that carry the sperm from men’s testicles to their penis. A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure, which causes a minimal amount of discomfort. The procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic and takes about 10 minutes to complete. Following the operation, men are still able to ejaculate, but the semen no longer contains any sperm.”

“It always surprises me when men come in to talk about contraception and vasectomies and how little information is out there.”

No-scalpel vasectomies are now available, and the operation causes mild discomfort, according to Dr Kieran.

“I would recommend a vasectomy considering the fact that it’s a permanent option, it’s relatively straight forward and it’s very effective,” Dr Kieran told

“It’s minor surgery, and a lot of places are doing it now without any scalpel at all; it’s a no-scalpel vasectomy where they numb the skin on the outside of the scrotum and insert a needle.”

“You’re talking about discomfort for 36 to 48 hours afterwards. It’s usually mild enough. I’ve had colleagues who’ve gone back to work on the same day even though we wouldn’t really recommend that.”

FAQs about vasectomies:

1. Is it sore?

It can feel uncomfortable, but most men are back to normal within 24-48 hours of getting the procedure.

2. Will I still be able to ejaculate?

Yes, and it’s going to feel just like it did before the procedure.

Sperm only makes up <1% of ejaculate, so there won't be any noticeable difference in the quantity or appearance of ejaculate after.

3. Will it decrease my sex drive or leave me impotent?

No and no. The procedure does not affect sex drive or cause impotence.

In fact, following a vasectomy procedure most men report an increase in their sex drive, as they no longer need to worry about an unintended pregnancy.

4. How do I know when I can stop using condoms?

After the vasectomy, there will be some sperm left in the upper part of the vas deferens tubes. Following the procedure men are advised to use condoms for at least 3 months, until the semen is declared sperm free. Semen samples are taken and analysed 24 weeks after the procedure to ensure no further sperm is left in the vas deferens tubes.

5. Does it work?

Yes. Following a successful vasectomy there’s a 1 in 3000 chance of a pregnancy, making them the most effective form of contraception currently available.

6. Can it be reversed?

In theory but the success rates are very low so it should be considered permanent if you are considering it. It’s recommended that men consider all contraceptive methods available and that they are sure this is the most suitable long-term family planning method for them.

Irish Life Health has partnered with Grafton Barber to offer temporary information centres on the issue. This Wednesday 28th February, Grafton Barbers on Grafton Street and in Arnott’s Department Store will offer men the opportunity to ‘Nip in for the Snip’ and find out further information on vasectomies, and also avail of half price haircuts

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